Zizhi Tongjian: The Jin Dynasty (Part 1)

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Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-??)

Unread postby vvill » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:50 pm

YES!! Always wished for these. Please continue!
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-??)

Unread postby capnnerefir » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:01 am

You've given the English-speaking scholars a great gift. This is probably the most valuable piece of work done in this field for years. I hope you're proud of yourself, and I hope we can all display our gratitude appropriately.

I might suggest a separate thread for discussion/corrections, though. It could help to keep the translation thread clean/organized so people looking to read your work don't have to hunt it down through everyone else's comments.

PS. Clearly I have been undervaluing Lu Kai. And Sima Yan made more good decisions than I gave him credit for. I really like his "Don't send me memorials telling me you agree with me" stance.
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-??)

Unread postby vvill » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:57 am

Agreed! Will be great to have a more complete timeline through the end of Wu (and maybe beyond? :) :) ) Lu Kang's command is impressive and so far Sima Yan seems to be delegating/ruling quite well. Also quite interested in reading more details of Yang Xin and Jin's struggles in LiangZhou against Shujineng and the XianBei. Especially with Hu Lie and Qian Hong already gone and Sima Jun/Wen Yang yet to be on the scene.

Tiny typo in 272.15 where it has "The Wu generals remonstrated with Wu Kang" => Lu Kang.

One thing here- my understanding was that Sun Xiu 秀 fled to Jin and Sima Yan gave him those titles. And the extra note would be something like making the people of Wu sympathetic to/impressed by Jin, not Sun Hao appeasing them.
In the twelfth month, Sun Hao appointed Sun Xiu as General of Agile Cavalry with equal authority to the Three Excellencies, and as Duke of Kuaiji.


(This Sun Xiu was the grandson of Sun Quan's younger brother Sun Kuang.

Sun Hao gave Sun Xiu these appointments to appease the people of Wu.)
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-??)

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:04 pm

Thanks for the correction; I have made it in the original posts. Let me know if you spot anything else like that.

I'm fine with discussion in this thread; if necessary, I can make a "clean" one later like we have for Fang's Chronicles.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 pm


The Ninth Year of Taishi (The Guisi or Water Snake Year, 273 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Xinyou (February 26th), Zheng Mao passed away. He was posthumously known as Marquis Yuan ("the Foremost") of Miling.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Zheng Mao in the Book of Jin states, 'Zheng Mao was appointed as Minister of Works, but he firmly declined the appointment. Eventually, after his opposition was accepted, Zheng Mao retired to his marquisate residence, and he was granted equal authority with the Three Excellencies.' Although the Annals of Emperor Wu from the Book of Jin states, 'The Minister of Works, Zheng Mao, passed away', it is mistaken.")


2. In the second month, on the day Guisi (March 30th), Shi Bao passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Wu of Leling.


3. In the third month, Emperor Wu appointed his son Sima Zhi as Prince of Donghai.


4. Lu Kang was appointed as Wu's Grand Marshal and Governor of Jingzhou.


5. In summer, the fourth month, on the new moon of the day Wuchen (May 4th), there was an eclipse.


6. Before, when Deng Ai had died, people all thought that he was innocent, but the court had taken no action to resolve the matter.

After Emperor Wu came to the throne, one of the Gentlemen-Consultants, Duan Zhuo of Dunhuang, sent up a petition stating, "Deng Ai was a man of firm and absolute loyalty, yet he has been saddled with a disobedient and rebellious reputation. He pacified the regions of Ba and Shu, yet his clan has been wiped out to the third degree.

“Now Deng Ai was a man of very stubborn and direct nature. He was arrogant, but skilled in warfare. It is only because he could not form friendships that no one dared to defend him. It is my humble opinion that Deng Ai, though originally a cattle tender on a tuntian farm, gained favor and positions to such extent, and his merits and reputation were so secure, that an aged gentlemen of seventy years like himself could hardly have asked for anything more.

“As for his behavior, when Liu Shan had first surrendered, the more distant commandaries of Shu had not yet come over to us; that was why Deng Ai took it upon himself to issue commands and manage affairs, planning to ensure the security of the state. But Zhong Hui, in his traitorous heart, feared Deng Ai's power and reputation, and so he cast suspicion upon him and impeded his work. When Deng Ai received the summons edict, he sent away his strong soldiers, had himself bound up, and did not dare to turn his head back, for he honestly knew that once he presented himself before His Late Majesty (Sima Zhao), there would be no cause for him to be sentenced to death.

“After Zhong Hui received his execution, Deng Ai's subordinate officers and ministers, making wild assumptions, banded together and chased after their leader, smashed open his cage cart, and freed him from his imprisonment. This placed Deng Ai in a difficult situation, for no matter which way he turned, he would lose out. Deng Ai had made no arranged plot with these brave fellows, and yet all of them were executed together just the same. How can that not be lamentable?

“Now Your Majesty has ascended like a dragon, and you have expounded and magnified the grand systems. Therefore, I ask that you have Deng Ai's body sent to be buried in his family grave, return his farmland and residence, and allow his descendants to inherit his legacy on account of his service in pacifying Shu. Have his coffin closed and have his posthumous name settled, so that he may die without regrets, with the reputation as a martyr for the realm. If you would consider establishing the accomplishments of your minister, then even if I were cast into boiling water or blazing fire, I would be happy to die for Your Majesty!"

Emperor Wu approved of this petition, but he was not yet able to carry out its proposals.

Not long afterwards, Emperor Wu was asking the Attendant Officer of the Palace, Fan Jian, about the ways in which Zhuge Liang had governed Shu-Han. Emperor Wu asked him, "Why do you think it is that I have still not obtained a minister of Zhuge Liang's calibur?"

Fan Jian bowed his head and replied, "Your Majesty knows that Deng Ai was innocent, yet you cannot absolve him. Even if you obtained Zhuge Liang, he would be of less use to you than the words of Feng Tang!"

Emperor Wu laughed and said, "You've said what I was just thinking."

And Emperor Wu appointed Deng Ai's grandson Deng Lang as a Palace Gentleman.


(Deng Ai's death is mentioned in Book 78, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) first year of Yanxi (264.14 in Fang's Chronicles).

Deng Ai was a native of Jiyang county in Yiyang commandary. When Cao Cao conquered Jingzhou, Deng Ai moved to Runan commandary, where he tended cattle for farmers.

The expression that Duan Zhuo uses to describe Deng Ai's position after his men broke him out of his cage cart is "wolf-狽". This is when a wolf, if it moves forward, trips over its own beard, while if it moves backwards, it stumbles over its own tail. A 狽 is a kind of wolf. When they are born, some lack one foot, and must use two feet together in order to move, for if not, they stumble or fall. Thus the expression.

The expression for when Deng Ai is killed with all the others is 腹背之誅 "both stomach and back were executed". The stomach is in the front, while the back is in the rear. It means that no one was able to escape execution.

Fan Jian was a former Shu-Han minister.

Fan Jian meant that Emperor Wu would not be able to use Zhuge Liang properly even if he had him. Feng Tang was a Han minister who provided very similar advice to Emperor Wen of Han; he is mentioned in Book 14 (actually Book 15), in the fourteenth year of Emperor Wen's reign (-166.2).)


7. Many people in Wu spoke of auspicious signs and omens. Sun Hao asked the Palace Attendant Wei Zhao about it, and Wei Zhao replied, "These things are nothing more remarkable than the sorts of things I might find in my own basket!"

Wei Zhao was the State Historian of the Left, so Sun Hao asked him to write an imperial Annals entry for his late father, Sun He. Wei Zhao told him, "Emperor Wen did not actually occupy the supreme rank. I can compose a Biography for him, but he cannot receive an Annals entry." Sun Hao was displeased, and he gradually looked burdened and angry. Wei Zhao became afraid, and he asked to resign his two positions as Palace Attendant and State Historian on account of old age and frailness. But Sun Hao would not allow it.

At that time, Wei Zhao became ill. A doctor gave him medicine and tended to him, so he was able to recover. Sun Hao then held a meeting with his ministers where he passed around cups of wine. He did not ask any of them whether they would be able to drink or not, and simply required them to make seven toasts. When the wine came to Wei Zhao, he alone drank tea instead, and so afterwards he looked even healthier and stronger.

After the wine was finished, Sun Hao would often send out his personal attendants to make jests about the gathered nobles and ministers, and they would make light of the ministers' private shortcomings. At the same time, if there was anyone among them who made some offense, the attendants would seize them and bind them in front of everyone, and take them out to be executed. Wei Zhao, believing that such things were causing great harm and ruin without and exacerbating hatreds within, and antagonizing all of the ministers, felt that the whole affair was a rotten business. This was why, to avoid difficulties, he only asked about the classics and about virtues without going into other matters. Sun Hao believed that Wei Zhao was not truly following his commands, and not acting with full loyalty.

So on account of all these suspicions and resentments Sun Hao had against Wei Zhao, he arrested him and had him interrogated. Because of these interrogations (or, the interrogation officials), Wei Zhao made a confession, and he turned over all of his writings, hoping that by doing so he would be released. But Sun Hao was only further incensed by the humiliating things present in Wei Zhao's writings, so he executed Wei Zhao, and exiled his family to Lingling.


By "these things are nothing more remarkable than the sorts of things I might find in my own basket," Wei Zhao meant the ordinary things that people were interpreting as if they were signs and omens.

Eastern Wu had State Historians of the Left and Right, both of whom were charged with records-keeping.

Sun Hao had posthumously named his father Sun He as Emperor Wen.

Some versions state that Wei Zhao confessed because of the "interrogation officials" rather than just the "interrogation".)


8. In the fifth month, He Zeng was appointed as acting Minister Over The Masses.


9. In the sixth month, on the day Yiwei (July 30th), the Prince of Donghai, Sima Zhi, passed away.


10. In autumn, the seventh month, on the new moon of the day Dingyou (August 1st), there was an eclipse.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Book of Liu-Song does not mention this eclipse. But I follow the account of the Book of Jin.")


11. Emperor Wu issued an edict that the families of everyone from the chief ministers and nobles on down must prepare their daughters for the six palaces, and those who hid their daughters would be charged with being disrespectful. Until the selection process of the daughters was completed, Emperor Wu forbade any marriages in the realm.

Emperor Wu had Empress Yang Yan handle the selections. Yang Yan favored those who were pure, fair of skin, tall, and large; she shunned those who were beautiful. There was a Lady Bian whom Emperor Wu was fond of, and he wished to keep her as a concubine. But Yang Yan told him, "There have been three Empresses that came from the Bian clan already; you could not keep this woman in such a lowly position." Emperor Wu was furious, and he took over the selection process himself.

The women he selected were draped in crimson silk tied about their arms. The daughters of the chief ministers and nobles were sorted among the ranks of the Three Wives and the Nine Concubines, while those daughters of the Two Thousand 石 salary rank officials, generals, and officers were sorted into the ranks of the Distinguished Women and below.


(By law, those who were so disrespectful were guilty of crimes.

The first Empress Bian were Cao Cao's Lady Bian, posthumously called Empress Xuan. Lady Bian's younger brother was Bian Bing, who was the father of Bian Lan and Bian Chen. Bian Lan's granddaughter was the second Empress Bian, the wife of Cao Mao. Bian Chen's daughter was the third Empress Bian, the wife of Cao Huan. So they had been Empresses for three generations.

Concerning the Three Wives, the term used is 夫. Kong Anguo remarked, "This 夫 means 'help'. They are helpmates to the king."

Under the Han system, the titles of the women of the rear palace had four tiers; Distinguished Women were on the level of Eight Hundred 石, comparable to a Chieftain of the Multitude.)


12. In the ninth month, Sun Hao appointed all of his sons and younger brothers as Princes, eleven in all. He gave each Prince three thousand soldiers to command. A general amnesty was declared.


(In writing "eleven princes", the passage avoids listing their names.)


13. During this year, Zheng Chong was appointed Duke of Shouguang.


14. Sun Hao's favored concubine sent men to the city market to take the people's things by force. The General of the Household Gentlemen and Market Director, Chen Sheng, had long held Sun Hao's favor. Chen Sheng restrained these men and enforced the law. Sun Hao's concubine complained to Sun Hao about what had happened. Sun Hao was furious, and he ordered Chen Sheng's head cut off with a heated saw. Then he had Chen Sheng's body cast down from Siwang.


(According to the Biography of Wen Jiao in the Book of Jin, when Wen Jiao was later fighting Su Jun at the Shitou fortress near Jianye (~328 AD), he built a rampart at the Rock of Siwang. And according to the Histories of the Southern Dynasties, there was a Mount Siwang at Shitou, and at the base of it was a great rock.)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:12 pm


The Tenth Year of Taishi (The Jiawu or Wood Horse Year, 274 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Yiwei (January 26th), there was an eclipse.


2. In the intercalary month, on the day Guiyou (March 5th), Zheng Chong passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Cheng of Shouguang.


3. On the day Dinghai, Emperor Wu issued an edict stating, "In recent eras, it has often been the practice to favor inner women and have them ascend to the status of imperial concubines. This has caused confusion in the distinction between the honored and the lowly. From now on, palace women shall not rise to the status of formal wives."


(Emperor Wu refers to Cao Cao's Empress Bian and Cao Rui's Empress Guo and Empress Mao.)


4. In Jin, part of Youzhou was split off to form Pingzhou.


(Youzhou was named You ("secluded") because it was in the north, in a dark and gloomy place. Du You remarked, "Youzhou is named for Mount Youdu." The Classic of Mountains and Seas mentions a Mount Youdu. It now refers to the northern wastes. Youzhou administered the commandaries of Fanyang, Beiping, Shanggu, Dai, and Liaoxi. At the end of Han, Gongsun Du declared himself Governor of Pingzhou. At this time, the five commandaries of Changli, Liaodong, Lelang, Xuantu, and Daifang were split off from Youzhou and formed into Pingzhou.)


5. In the third month, on the day Guihai (April 24th), there was an eclipse.


6. Emperor Wu issued an edict that five thousand women among the daughters of the esteemed families and those of minor officers and officials would be selected for the palace. The wails of mothers and their children filled the palace, and they could be heard even outside of it.


7. In summer, the fourth month, on the day Jiwei (June 19th), Xun Yi passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Kang of Linhuai.


(The Laws of Posthumous Names states, "One who is gentle and soft, delightful and pleasant, may be called 康 Kang ('peaceful').")

吳左夫人王氏卒。吳主哀念,數月不出,葬送甚盛。時何氏以太后故,宗族驕橫。吳主舅子何都貌類吳主,民間訛言:「吳主已死,立者何都也。」會稽又訛言:「章安侯奮當爲天子。」奮母仲姬墓在豫章,豫章太守張俊爲之掃除。臨海太守奚熙與會稽太守郭誕書, 非議國政;誕但白熙書,不白妖言。吳主怒,收誕繫獄,誕懼,功曹邵疇曰:「疇在,明府何憂!」遂詣吏自列曰:「疇廁身本郡,位極朝右,以噂X之言,本非事實,疾其醜聲,不忍聞見,欲含垢藏疾,不彰之翰墨,鎭躁歸靜,使之自息。故誕屈其所是,默以見從。此之爲愆,實由於疇,不敢逃死,歸罪有司。」因自殺。吳主乃免誕死,送付建安作船。遣其舅三郡督何植收奚熙。熙發兵自守,其部曲殺熙,送首建業。又車裂張俊,皆夷三族;幷誅章安侯奮及其五子。

8. Sun Hao's Lady of the Left, Lady Wang, passed away. Sun Hao was in deep mourning for her. He did not go out for several months, and the burial ceremony was very elaborate.

At that time, since Lady He was the Empress Dowager, her imperial relatives acted very arrogant and overbearing. Sun Hao's cousin, He Du, greatly resembled him. So a rumor spread among the people, and they said, "Sun Hao has already died, and the one upon the throne now is He Du." And in Kuaiji there was also a rumor stating, "The Marquis of Zhang'an, Sun Fen, will become the Son of Heaven." Sun Fen's mother Concubine Zhong was buried at Yuzhang, and the Administrator of Yuzhang, Zhang Jun, swept her tomb clear on his behalf.

The Administrator of Linhai, Xi Xi, wrote a letter to the Administrator of Kuaiji, Guo Dan, in which he wrote critically of the handling of state affairs. Although Guo Dan reported Xi Xi's letter, he did not mention the treasonous rumor going around. Sun Hao was furious, and he arrested Guo Dan and had him interrogated in prison. Guo Dan was very afraid.

Guo Dan's Merit Evaluator, Shao Chou, was with him, and he said to Guo Dan, "So long as I am here, what does Your Excellency have to worry about?"

And Shao Chou visited the officials and explained to them, "I held a lowly position in my native commandary, and my rank rose to that of an assistant on the right in the local court. The assorted hubbub spreading through the commandary was without the slightest foundation. I grew sick at the disgusting sound of it, and could not endure hearing or seeing it. I wished to 'take dirt in my mouth and hide noxious things'. So I did not take up my brush and ink, intending to guard against rashness and purge the matter clean, and have it clear up of its own accord. This was why Guo Dan submitted to these things, kept silent and followed my advice. The source of this disrespect is actually from me. I do not dare to avoid death, and that is why I present myself before you and admit my crime." Having said this, Shao Chou killed himself. So Sun Hao spared Guo Dan from death, but he exiled him to Jian'an to build ships.

Sun Hao sent the Commander of the Three Commandaries, his uncle He Zhi, to arrest Xi Xi. Although Xi Xi summoned troops to protect himself, his subordinates killed him and sent his head to Jianye.

Sun Hao also had Zhang Jun torn apart by chariots, and exterminated his clan to the third degree. He executed Sun Fen and his five sons.


By "swept", it means Zhang Jun swept the tomb of dirt. By "clear", it means he cleared away the thistles and brambles from it.

In Sun Xiu's third year of Yong'an (260), he split off the eastern command posts of Kuaiji commandary and formed them into Linhai commandary.

The "treasonous rumor" means the rumors spreading in the commandary.

The Merit Evaluator of a commandary held a position on the right in the commandary court.

The "assorted hubbub" was the rumors circulating in the commandary.

The Zuo Commentary records these common sayings: "'The rivers and meres receive [much] filth;' 'the hills and thickets hide noxious things;' 'princes of States must [at times] take dirt in their mouths.' (Xuan 15.1)"

Shao Chou was saying that Guo Dan was following his advice, and thus had kept silent about and not reported the treasonous rumors.

Song Bai remarked, "Eastern Wu divided the land of Houguan and formed Jian'an County there. They also made the Qunuo Command Post, whose chief purpose was as a place to send demoted or exiled officials to build ships."

Regarding He Zhi's title Commander of the Three Commandaries, Jiangbiaozhuan records it as Commander of Coastal Defenses. This office held authority over the three commandaries of Linhai, Jian'an, and Kuaiji.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Jiangbiaozhuan states, 'Zhang Bu's daughter was greatly favored by Sun Hao; when she died, Sun Hao held a lavish funeral for her. When the people of the state saw how great and luxurious the funeral was, they said to each other that Sun Hao himself was already dead, and he had been the one buried. Sun Hao's cousin He Du resembled him in bearing and appearance, and so the people spread a rumor saying that He Du was now the one on the throne. The Administrator of Linhai, Xi Xi, believed the rumor, and he raised troops wishing to march back to Moling (Jianye) and punish He Du. He Du's uncle He Zhi was at that time the Commander of Coastal Defenses, and he attacked Xi Xi and killed him, and exterminated his clan to the third degree. This put an end to the rumors.' It also states, 'Sun Fen was originally at Zhang'an, but he was moved back to Wucheng and held in custody. He sent away his sons and daughters who were not yet married; they were in their thirties or forties, but had not yet attained marriages. Sun Feng sent up a petition begging that, though he himself was like a wild beast, that his sons and daughters would be allowed to marry. Sun Hao was greatly angry, and he sent the 察戰 officials to force Sun Fen and his children to consume poison. They all took the poison and died.' Regarding this latter story, Pei Songzhi has remarked, 'By the time of Sun Fen's death in the second year of Jianheng (270), Sun Hao had not been on the throne for a great deal of time. If Sun Sheng had not been suspected before that time, then his sons and daughters would have been about twenty years old, and so by the time of his death, they could not have already been in their thirties or forties. If his children had already grown to that age before the time of this incident, and had still all that time not been married, it cannot have been simply because of their imprisonment by Sun Hao. Although I certainly would like to add to Sun Hao's tyranny, I cannot credit this account.' Regarding the year of Sun Fen's death, the Biography of Sun Fen in the Records of Wu states, 'In the third year of Fenghuang (274), a rumor spread through Kuaiji that Sun Fen would become the Son of Heaven, and so Sun Hao executed Xi Xi.' But it does not say that he executed Sun Fen. The Biography of Sun Fen in the Records of the Three Kingdoms states, 'In the second year of Jianheng (270), the Lady of the Left, Lady Wang, passed away. The people spread rumors about the incident, and so Sun Hao had Sun Fen and his five sons put to death.' And according to the Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin, Sun Hao heeded Zhang Bu's daughter and killed Sun Fen in the first year of Tiance (275). Now if Sun Fen had died in the second year of Jianheng (270), clearly no rumor about his taking the throne could have spread as late as the third year of Fenghuang (274). But I do not know for sure which year Sun Fen died, so I place it here after Xi Xi's death.")


9. In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Bingyin (August 25th), Empress Yang Yan passed away.

Up until this time, Emperor Wu had felt that his son Sima Zhong was not very bright, and he feared that Sima Zhong would not be able to succeed him. He often secretly discussed the matter with Yang Yan. She said to him, 'It is the principle that one selects the eldest son to inherit, not the worthiest. How can you do anything to upset this principle?"

The Grand General Who Guards The Army, Hu Fen, had a daughter, Hu Fang, who had become an Honored Lady, and Emperor Wu greatly favored her. When Empress Yang became deathly ill, she was afraid that Emperor Wu would make Hu Fang the next Empress in her place, and then Sima Zhong's position as Crown Prince would be threatened. She placed her head on Emperor Wu's knee and wept as she said, "My cousin Yang Zhi has both virtue and beauty. I ask that Your Majesty prepare the six palaces for her." Emperor Wu, in tears, promised to do so.


(The principle "one selects the eldest son to inherit, not the worthiest" comes from the Gongyang Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals.

Under the Jin system, the ranks of the Three Wives were the Honored Ladies, the Helpmate Ladies, and the Honored Concubines. They all had gold seals and purple ribbons.)

泰始末,武帝怠政事而耽於色,大采擇公卿女以充六宮,奮女選入為貴人。奮唯有一子,為南陽王友,早亡。及聞女為貴人,哭曰:「老奴不死,唯有二兒,男入九地之下,女上九天之上。」奮既舊臣,兼有椒房之助,甚見寵待。遷左僕射,加鎮軍大將軍、開府儀同三司。(Book of Jin 57, Biography of Hu Fen)

At the end of the Taishi reign era (~279), Emperor Wu became disinterested in government and instead indulged himself in sensual pleasures. He held a great survey of all the daughters of the nobles and great ministers and selected the ones he liked to fill the Six Palaces. Hu Fen’s daughter was also chosen to be an Honored Lady.

Now Hu Fen only had one son, and this son became a Royal Friend to the Prince of Nanyang (Sima Jian), but he had died early. So when Hu Fen heard that his daughter had been chosen as an Honored Lady, he wept and said, “I am not dead yet, and I only had these two children. But the boy has already entered the Nine Lands of the world below, and the girl has now entered the Nine Heavens of the world above.”

But since Hu Fen was such a veteran minister, he was allowed access to the “pepper rooms” apartments of Emperor Wu’s consorts, and treated with special favor. He was later appointed as Supervisor of the Left, and then promoted to Grand General Who Guards The Army and granted Separate Office with equal ceremony to the Three Excellencies.


10. Wei's former Minister of Ceremonies, Shan Tao, was now appointed as Jin's Minister of the Masters of Writing.

For more than ten years, Shan Tao sought out and selected worthy men for office. Whenever there was a vacancy in some office, Shan Tao would always select several people of talent and worth who could fill the role, and when he received the imperial decree regarding the office, he would then have someone on hand for whom he could submit a petition. There were sometimes matters where, when Emperor Wu needed to use someone, he would not even lift his head or look into the feelings of the crowd, but he would simply have Shan Tao determine how serious the matter was and come up with his own idea, and then provide his suggestion to Emperor Wu. So Emperor Wu was intimate with Shan Tao and treasured him.

Whenever Shan Tao selected a worthy person, every time he would first examine them carefully and then submit a petition regarding them. People of that time called him "Lord Shan the Examiner".


(When Emperor Wu had received the abdication of Cao-Wei, Shan Tao had moved from a Gentleman-Minister to the Masters of Writing. He left office after his mother's death to mourn for her. After returning to office, he was tasked with recruiting.

By "talent", it means they had talent sufficient for the office; by "worth", it means they were prepared to accept the office.

The passage says that Shan Tao would 甄 people. This term 甄 means "discern", "examine", or "distinguish".)

山司徒前後選,殆周遍百官,舉無失才。凡所題目,皆如其言。唯用陸亮,是詔所用,與公意異,爭之不從。亮亦尋為賄敗。(New Tales of the World 3.7)

Shan Tao's selections for public office which he had made throughout his career had practically run the gamut of the various offices, and of those he had recommended none had ever fallen short in ability. In every case where he had written an estimate of a candidate's ability it proved to be exactly as he had stated. It was only in the case of the appointment of Lu Liang, who had been appointed by imperial command, that exception was taken to Shan Tao's advice. He had contested it, but his advice was not followed. Lu Liang was indeed eventually ruined through taking bribes. (tr. Richard Mather)


11. Shan Tao recommended Ji Shao to Emperor Wu, and asked that Ji Shao be appointed as a Gentleman of the Imperial Library. So Emperor Wu issued an edict to summon Ji Shao.

Now Ji Shao's father Ji Kang had been charged with a crime, so Ji Shao had retired to his own household, and he intended to decline this appointment. Shan Tao said to him, "I would ask that you give this further consideration. 'Even Heaven, Earth, and the four seasons have their periods of waxing and waning, coming and going. Can it be any less for men?'"

So Ji Shao heeded the summons, and Emperor Wu appointed him as Assistant to the Imperial Library.


(Under the Jin system, the Chief of the Imperial Library had subordinate Assistants and Gentlemen.

After being spurned by Ji Kang, Zhong Hui had arranged for Sima Zhao to execute him on trumped-up charges. This is mentioned in Book 78, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) third year of Jingyuan (262.12-15 in Fang's Chronicles, where he is called Xi Kang).)

Shan Tao quotes from the Book of Changes: "When the sun has reached the meridian height, it begins to decline. When the moon has become full, it begins to wane. The (interaction of) heaven and earth is now vigorous and abundant, now dull and scanty, growing and diminishing according to the seasons. How much more must it be so with (the operations of) men! How much more also with the spiritual agency! (55.1)"

嵇康被誅後,山公舉康子紹為秘書丞。紹咨公出處,公曰:「為君思之久矣!天地四時,猶有消息,而況人乎?」(New Tales of the World 3.8)

After Ji Kang had been executed, Shan Tao recommended Ji Kang's son Ji Shao for Curator of the Palace Library. Ji Shao consulted Shan Tao on whether he should take the post or remain in retirement. Shan Tao replied, "I've been thinking about it on your behalf for a long while. 'If even Heaven and earth and the four seasons have their periods of decrease and increase,
how much more do men!'" (tr. Richard Mather)


12. Years earlier, following Wei's defeat at the battle of Dongguan, Sima Zhao had asked his subordinate officers, "Who was responsible for our recent defeat?"

Sima Zhao's Marshal, Wang Yi, had replied, "Responsibility lies with the army commander."

Sima Zhao was enraged, and he said, "The Marshal means to make me shoulder the blame?"

He had Wang Yi taken out and beheaded. This Wang Yi was the son of Wang Xiu.

Wang Yi's son Wang Pou was extremely sorrowful and bitter at his father's violent death. He lived a life of seclusion, providing teaching and instruction. Though he received three imperial summons and seven recruitment calls, he refused to answer any of them. When sitting down, he would never face towards the west (towards Luoyang). He lived in a simple hut built beside his parents' grave, where day and night he would climb up into a cypress tree and wail mournfully. His tears and mucus covered the tree so much that it caused the tree to wither.

When Wang Pou would read from the Book of Poetry, every time he came to the verse "Alas! alas! my parents; With what toil ye gave me birth!" he could never help but weep and sniffle, so his students removed the Long Sagebrush poem which contained that verse.

He had a poor household; he tilled the fields only enough to sustain himself, and he tended silkworms only enough to provide for his own clothing. When people tried to give him gifts, he would not accept them; when people tried to help him, he would refuse them. Some of his students secretly cut down the grain for his sake, but Wang Pou threw all of that grain away. To the end of his life, he never held office.


(The battle of Dongguan, or Dongxing, was fought between Cao-Wei and Eastern Wu. It is mentioned in Book 75, in Cao Fang's fourth year of Jiaping (252.15-19 in Fang's Chronicles).

Wang Xiu is mentioned in Book 64, in Emperor Xian of Han's eighth year of Jian'an (203.B and 206.D in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace).

Wang Yi's full rank was Marshal to the General Who Maintains The East. Sima Zhao was the General who held that rank, and he was in overall command of the various Cao-Wei armies involved in the Dongguan campaign.

In this passage, the "summons" came directly from an imperial edict, while the "recruitment calls" came from either the central government or the provincial or commandary governments.

Wang Pou lived at Chengyang. The Jin court at Luoyang was to the west, and that was why Wang Pou refused to sit while facing that direction.

The verse "Alas! alas! my parents; With what toil ye gave me birth!" comes from the Long Sagebrush poem in the Book of Poetry. Wang Pou's students removed this poem from the texts and dared not practice it because of the grief it caused him.)


13. Your servant Sima Guang remarks: In ancient times, when Emperor Shun executed Gun and yet Gun's son Yu worked for Shun, there was nothing to be said against Yu, for his father's death had been just. But when we consider Ji Kang and Wang Yi, both of them were killed despite having committed no crimes. Their sons could not have held office under Jin, yet Ji Shao did so. If it were not for the loyalty which Ji Shao displayed at Tangyin, he would never have escaped the ridicule of superior men!


(Ji Shao gave his life to defend Emperor Hui at the battle of Tangyin, as will be seen later on in Book 85, in Emperor Hui's first year of Yongxing (304). The first character in the name of this battle, 蕩, is pronounced "tang".

As for what I, Hu Sanxing, believe, while superior men may indeed praise Ji Shao for his sacrifice at Tangyin, that was still not sufficient to counteract the crime against nature that he committed in the first place. )


14. Wu's Grand Marshal, Lu Kang, became deathly ill. He sent up a petition stating, "Xiling and Jianping are the barriers of our state. Since they are along the Yangzi, they touch the enemy's border points on two sides. If the enemy were to sail ships down the Yangzi, they could move against us as quickly as a shooting star or a bolt of lightning, before there could be any hope of other places coming to the defense of those threatened points. This represents the issue of either security or peril for our state; it is no minor matter of slight dangers posed by border raids.

"When my father Lu Xun was in the west, he submitted his own petition stating, 'Xiling is the western gate of our state; although it is easy to defend, it would also be easy to lose. And if it is not defended, it is more than a matter of losing a single commandary; it would mean the loss of Jingzhou for Wu. So if this place is threatened, the whole state must be turned out to contend for control of it.' Before, I begged that thirty thousand elite troops might be sent to garrison here, but the chief military officials stuck to their usual ways, and they never did send the soldiers here.

"After Bu Chan's revolt, this region has suffered from even more exhaustion. I am currently in charge of overseeing a thousand li of land, and must guard against a powerful external foe while appeasing the many Man tribes within. Everywhere I look, I see great expenditures among the soldiers; they have been exhausted for days on end, and it would be hard for them to adapt to any changing circumstances.

"Foolish as I am, I propose that, since the Princes are still young, they have no need for the soldiers and horses which are only hindering them in their duties. Furthermore, court eunuchs have been drafting and enlisting men for their own purposes, compelling soldiers and common people to work on their own projects, and people are even fleeing to join these groups. I beg that you issue a special edict to look into this matter and make full provisions to repair the gaps in our border defenses and confront the constant threats posed by the enemy.

"It would be sufficient to send me eighty thousand men; then the soldiers can recover from their numerous labors. They can combine their strength and prepare our defenses, and then there will be no chance of this place being lost. But if you do not do these things, how deeply will you regret it! After I am dead, I beg you to focus on the west."

Lu Kang then passed away.

Sun Hao divided Lu Kang's authority and his soldiers between his sons Lu Yan, Lu Jing, Lu Xuan, Lu Ji, and Lu Yun. Lu Ji and Lu Yun were both exceptional literary talents, and they had a high reputation in that era.


(When an illness grows worse and there is no recovery, it is called 病.

Lu Kang meant that Xiling and Jianping were the barriers of the state. As for "border points", to the west they were adjacent to the Ba and Kui regions, and to the north they were adjacent to Weixing and Shangyong; both of those adjacent regions were held by their enemy, Jin.

The "chief military officials" were those who were in charge of the army.

Bu Chan's revolt is mentioned in the last book, in the eighth year of Taishi (272.12, 15-17).

By "the Princes", Lu Kang refers to the eleven Princes of Eastern Wu, to each of whom Sun Hao had assigned three thousand soldiers (273.12 above).

Lu Kang knew that Eastern Wu's demise was imminent, and this was why he submitted such a petition that went beyond his usual duties.)

Lu Kang quotes his father Lu Xun's petition from 222.15 in Fang's Chronicles.


15. Zhou Chu was the son of the Wu general Zhou Fang. He had abundant strength surpassing other men, and he did not restrain himself, but did just as he liked. He was a terror in his village.

Zhou Chu asked an elder in the village, "This is a time of peace and plenty, yet the people are not happy. Why is that?"

The elder sighed and told him, "How can we be happy so long as the Three Scourges still remain?"

Zhou Chu asked, "What are these Three Scourges?"

The elder told him, "The White-Crested Tiger of the southern hills is one; the Serpent of Zhangqiao is another. Sir, you are the third."

Zhou Chu said, "If that is all they are, I can get rid of them."

So Zhou Chu first went into the hills to seek the Tiger, and he shot it with an arrow and killed it. Then he cast himself into the water, wrestled the Serpent, and killed it too.

Zhou Chu then went to study under Lu Kang's sons Lu Ji and Lu Yun, and wholeheartedly pursued his studies and readings. He improved his behavior and rectified his conduct, and after several years of this, the provincial government summoned him.


(These "southern hills" were the southern hills in modern Huzhou and Xiuzhou. Zhangqiao is in modern Yixing County in Changzhou.)

周處年少時,兇彊俠氣,為鄉里所患;又義興水中有蛟,山中有邅跡虎,並皆暴犯百姓;義興人謂為「三橫」,而處尤劇。或說處殺虎斬蛟,實冀「三橫」唯餘其一。處即刺殺虎,又入水擊蛟,蛟或浮或沒,行數十里,處與之俱。經三日三夜,鄉里皆謂已死,更相慶。竟殺蛟而出。聞里人相慶,始知為人情所患,有自改意。乃自吳尋二陸。平原不在,正見清河,具以情告,並云:「欲自修改,而年已蹉跎,終無所成!」清河曰:「古人貴朝聞夕死,況君前途尚可。且人患志之不立,亦何憂令名不彰邪?」處遂改勵,終為忠臣孝子。(New Tales 15.1)

When Zhou Chu was young, his cruel and violent knight-errantry was a source of distress to his fellow villagers. Furthermore, in the stream which flowed through his native Yixing commandary, there was a scaly dragon, and in the hills a roving tiger, both of which were terrorizing the local peasants. The people of Yixing called the three of them the "Three Scourges", but Zhou Chu was the most terrible of them all. Someone suggested to Zhou Chu that he kill the tiger and behead the dragon, in reality hoping that of the "Three Scourges" only one would be left.

Zhou Chu promptly stabbed the tiger to death and proceeded to enter the stream to attack the dragon. But the dragon, now afloat, now submerged, traveled several tens of li, and Zhou Chu accompanied it for all of three days and three nights. His fellow villagers all though he was already dead, and were congratulating each other more than ever. But in the end, Zhou Chu killed the dragon and emerged from the water. It was only after he heard that the villagers were congratulating each other that he finally understood what a source of distress he had been to the feelings of others, and he made up his mind to reform himself.

Accordingly, he went into Wu commandary and sought out the Lu brothers (Lu Ji and Lu Yun). Since Lu Ji was not at home, he only saw Lu Yun. He recounted the whole matter to him and added, "I've wanted to reform my ways, but the years have already slipped by, and till now I've never accomplished it."

Lu Yun said, "The ancients honored the principle of hearing the Way in the morning and dying content in the evening. How much more promising is your own future course! What's more, even though people are distressed that your ambition has never been established, why, indeed, should you worry that your good reputation won't become known?"

So Zhou Chu exerted all his energies in a new direction, and in the end became a loyal minister and filial son. (tr. Richard Mather)


16. In the eighth month, on the day Wushen (October 6th), Empress Yuan (Yang Yan) was buried at Junyang Tomb.

Following the burial, Emperor Wu and his ministers ended their mourning on the day of the Felicitous Feast (about a month later). One of the Academicians, Chen Kui, proposed, "Let us cut short our morning at this time, following the system put in place by the Han emperors. And since the Crown Prince has no current role in public affairs, he too should cease his mourning."

But one of the Masters of Writing, Du Yu, said, "When the Sons of Heaven and the feudal lords of old conducted their three years of mourning, they all began and ended their mourning at the same times. After the burial was over, they removed their mourning clothes, but they took up residence in the mourning shed and mourned in their hearts for the full measure. This was why, although the Duke of Zhou did not say that Gaozong kept his mourning clothes for the full three years, he did speak of Gaozong retiring to the mourning shed; he wrote this to express the mourning of Gaozong’s heart. And for the same reason, Shuxiang did not criticize King Jing of Zhou for having ending his mourning, but he did criticize King Jing for allowing himself to delight in feasting far too early. King Jing followed the letter of the law in putting away mourning clothes after the burial had ended, but he violated the spirit of the mourning shed. When a man (or, a superior man) practices the rites, in all things he must follow them within as well. As it is said, ‘propriety is more than a matter of gems and silks’; how could it not be the case that mourning is more than a matter of hemps and mourning bands?

"As for the Crown Prince himself, when he goes out he is 'Soother of the Host', while when he remains behind he is 'Inspector of the State'; it cannot be said that he has no conspicuous role. Although he removes his mourning band and hemp and ceases his wailing, still he should dwell in the mourning shed for the full three years."

Emperor Wu followed his counsel.


(Du Yu was saying that when it came to the beginning and ending of mourning periods, there was no distinction made between any from the Son of Heaven to the common people.

The Duke of Zhou wrote this passage in the Against Luxuriousness section of the Book of Documents: "When Gaozong came to the throne, he occupied the mourning shed." Du Yu uses this passage to support his point that the mourning period should not be ended.

The Zuo Commentary records the story of King Jing and Shuxiang: "Xun Li of Jin went to Zhou to attend the funeral of Queen Mu. When the funeral was over, and the King had put off his mourning, he invited Wenbo (Xun Li) to a feast. When Xun Li later told Shuxiang about all this, Shuxiang said, 'The king will, probably, not live out his full lifespan. I have heard that a man is sure to die of that in which he delights. Now the king seeks pleasure in the midst of his grief. If he dies [in the midst] of grief, it cannot be said that he has completed his years. In one year, he has experienced two deaths, each of which he should have mourned for three years. At such a time, to feast with the guests at his mourning shows excessively what he delights in in the midst of his grief. When a death that should be mourned for three years has occurred, even the noblest should, according to rule, complete the mourning for it. If the Son of Heaven should not complete that, yet to feast and seek pleasure at an early period, it must be pronounced contrary to propriety.' (Zhao 15.6)"

Some versions have "superior man" instead of simply "man".

The Analects has this passage: "The Master said, 'People claim, 'It is according to the rules of propriety'. Are gems and silk all that is meant by propriety?' (17.11)"

Du Yu's quote "when the Crown Prince goes out he is 'Soother of the Host', while when he remains behind he is 'Inspector of the State'" comes from Li Ke in the Zuo Commentary (Min 2.8).)


17. Your servant Sima Guang remarks: When taking measurements, the square and the circle are the foundational tools. But it is an inferior craftsman who, lacking these things, cannot attain the measure. In the same way, the hemp and mourning band are the foundational tools of mourning. But it is an inferior man who, lacking them, cannot exert himself in mourning. This is the feeling expressed in the White Cap poem. Du Yu drew from the passages of the Classics and the Zuo Commentary in order to bolster his natural feelings; it was quite the argument. I would say that, although his counsel was less practical than that of Chen Kui, it was more sincere.


(In the White Cap poem in the Book of Poetry, the poet laments that he cannot express his three full years of mourning.)


18. In the ninth month, on the day Guihai (October 21st), Jin's Grand General, Chen Qian, was appointed as Grand Commandant.


19. Du Yu proposed that, because it was dangerous to cross the Yellow River at Meng Crossing, a bridge over the Yellow River should be built at Fuping Crossing.

There were those who objected, saying, "When the Yin (Shang) and Zhou dynasties set their capitals, there were many sage and worthy men, but they did not build a bridge as he suggests. For that reason, it certainly cannot be done."

But Du Yu insisted, and so the bridge was built.

After the bridge was completed, Emperor Wu and his ministers went to the riverbank to view it. Emperor Wu raised his wine cup to Du Yu and said, "If not for you, this bridge never would have been completed."

Du Yu replied, "If it were not for Your Majesty's discernment, I never could have made it a reality."


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "Meng Crossing is also called Fuping Crossing." Du You remarked, "Fuping Crossing is in the south of Heyang County."

Yin (Shang) had set their capital at Henei, and Zhou had set theirs at Luoyang. Both of them had placed their capitals between the Yellow River, but neither had built a bridge across it. This was the source of the others' objections.)


20. During this year, the former Emperor of Wei, Cao Fang, passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Li of Shaoling.

Before, when Cao Fang had been deposed and moved to the Jinyong fortress, the Palace Gentleman to the Grand Governor, Fan Can of Chenliu, put on plain white clothing and saw him off, and Fan Can's lamentations shook those around him.

Fan Can claimed illness and would not go out, and he acted as though he had a madness that prevented him from speaking. He moved around and slept only in carriages, so that his feet never touched the ground. Whenever his children or grandchildren had some great business like marriage or taking up office, they would always secretly consult him about the matter. If he agreed with what they suggested, he would maintain his usual expression, but if he did not agree, he would act as though he were having a restless slumber. By these things, his wife could understand his intentions.

Three of his sons, including his son Fan Qiao, abandoned their scholarly and business pursuits and cut themselves off from worldly affairs in order to tend to their sick father and his household, and they never set foot outside of their village.

After Emperor Wu came to the throne, he ordered Fan Can appointed as a Two Thousand Bushel salary official to tend to his illness, and further rewarded him with a hundred bolts of silk. But Fan Qiao said that his father's illness was critical, and he dared not accept these things.

Fan Can refused to speak for thirty-six years, and when he passed away at the age of eighty-four, he was still lying in his carriage.


(When Cao Fang was deposed, a palace was built for him at Zhongmen in Henei. When the passage says that he was moved to Jinyong, it means at the time when he was first deposed. He was escorted under guard to Jinyong, and afterwards he resided in Henei.

When Jin accepted the abdication from Cao-Wei, in order to avoid the taboo on Sima Shi's given name 師 Shi, they exchanged the office of 太師 Grand Preceptor with that of Grand Governor, which they selected from the Offices of Zhou. Cao-Wei had followed the Han system, in which only the Grand Dukes had Grand Tutors. According to the Biography of Fan Can in the Book of Jin, his position during Cao-Wei changed from Palace Gentleman Attendant Officer to the Grand Governor to that of Palace Gentleman to the Grand Governor. But at this time there was no such office as Grand Governor yet, so he held those subordinate offices under the Grand Tutor, and this passage ought to say Grand Tutor as well.

Fan Can expressed one thing externally, but within he hid another matter. When it comes to interacting with people, if the external condition seems to be one thing, but internally the truth is otherwise, that fits the phrase 陽爲之外. On the other hand, if externally nothing seems amiss, but internally there is some latent issue, that fits the phrase 陰爲之.

According to the Biography of Fan Can in the Book of Jin, when Fan Qiao was two years old, he was at his grandfather Fan Xin's deathbed. Fan Xin stroked Fan Qiao's head and said, "I regret that I shall not be able to see you become a man!" And Fan Xin left his personal inkstone for him. When Fan Qiao became five years old, his grandmother told him about it; Fan Qiao held the inkstone close and wept. Once Fan Qiao turned nine years old, he asked to begin his studies. Whenever he was talking with fellows of the same age, he never used bawdy language. Li Quan often discussed how he believed that the scholar Yang Xiong was superior in talent and scholarship than Liu Xiang. Fan Qiao believed that Liu Xiang was the greatest of his generation, and that considering the collections of all of his writings, he was ahead of Yang Xiong, and this was why he could not be superior. All this was recorded in the text Discussion on the Superiorities and the Shortcomings of Liu Xiang and Yang Xiong. Fan Qiao was frequently offered offices, but he never accepted them. On the day of the winter sacrifice, the people of the village came to chop down his tree and made off with it. But when some of them told him what they had done, he seemed not to hear them. The people of the village were ashamed, and they returned the tree. Fan Qiao said, "You have chosen this day to gather firewood only because you wished to make merry with my mother and father. Where is the shame in that?" Alas! We can see how learned Fan Qiao was, and yet he cast aside his scholarly and business pursuits and cut himself off from the world's affairs, and lived almost as though he were 'Bo Yi and Shu Qi starving at the foot of the Shouyang mountain'.

From Cao Fang being deposed until his death was around twenty-one years; this passage indicates that Fan Can spent all that time without saying a word.)


21. There was great pestilence in Wu for about three years.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:16 pm


The First Year of Xianning (The Yiwei or Wood Goat Year, 275 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Wuwu (February 13th), a general amnesty was declared in Jin. The reign era title was changed to Xianning.


2. In Wu, a piece of silver one 尺 in length was excavated, and there was writing engraved upon it. Sun Hao declared a general amnesty, and he changed the reign era title in Wu to Tiance.


(The Records of Wu states, "The silver was a 尺 in length, and three 分 in breadth. The writing upon it listed the characters for the year and month.")


3. Wu's Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, He Shao, suffered a stroke. He could no longer speak, and he left his office for several months. Sun Hao suspected that He Shao was faking his affliction, so he arrested He Shao, forced wine upon him, and had him interrogated more than a thousand times. He Shao perished without saying a word. Sun Hao then had his head cut off with a heated saw, and he exiled his family to Linhai.

Sun Hao also executed Lou Xuan's sons and grandsons.


(Lou Xuan's death is mentioned in the last book, in the eighth year of Taishi (272.23).)


4. In summer, the sixth month, the Xianbei leader Tuoba Liwei once again sent his son Tuoba Shamohan to offer tribute to the Jin court. When Tuoba Shamohan was about to return home, Jin's Inspector of Youzhou, Wei Guan, submitted a request asking to detain him. Wei Guan also secretly bribed the various Xianbei chiefs with gold, in order to sow discord between them.


(Tuoba Shamohan had first come to bring tribute to the Cao-Wei court in Book 78, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) first year of Jingyuan (261.8 in Fang's Chronicles).

Wei Guan's actions were why Tuoba Liwei believed the slander against Tuoba Shamohan and killed him.)

五十六年,帝復如晉;其年冬,還國。晉遺帝錦、罽、繒、綵、綿、絹、諸物,咸出豐厚,車牛百乘。行達并州,晉征北將軍衞瓘,以帝為人雄異,恐為後患,乃密啟晉帝,請留不遣。晉帝難於失信,不許。瓘復請以金錦賂國之大人,令致間隙,使相危害。晉帝從之,遂留帝。於是國之執事及外部大人,皆受瓘貨。(Book of Northern Wei 1)

In the fifty-sixth year of Tuoba Liwei's reign (275), Tuoba Shamohan went back to Jin.

That same winter, he was on his way back. Jin had sent him off with brocades, felts, various kinds of silks, and other such things, each in great abundance, so that they filled a hundred ox-drawn carts.

But as Tuoba Shamohan was passing through Bingzhou, Jin's General Who Conquers The North, Wei Guan, who felt that Tuoba Shamohan was a remarkable hero among men and feared that he would cause trouble someday, secretly sent word to Emperor Wu of Jin, asked that he be allowed to detain Tuoba Shamohan and not let him continue home. Emperor Wu did not want to break faith, and so he refused. Then Wei Guan asked to send bribes of gold and brocades among the chiefs of the Tuoba state, to sow discord and make them turn on one another. Emperor Wu then granted his permission, and so Wei Guan detained Tuoba Shamohan. The people of the Tuoba state who held power, and all the chiefs of the outer tribes, accepted Wei Guan's bribes.


5. In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Jiashen (September 7th), the last day of that month, there was an eclipse.


6. In winter, the twelfth month, on the day Dinghai (January 8th of 276), temple names were assigned to Emperor Wu's ancestors. He honored Sima Yi as Gaozu, Sima Shi as Shizong, and Sima Zhao as Taizu.


7. There was great pestilence in Jin, and the dead in Luoyang were reckoned in the tens of thousands.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:19 pm


The Second Year of Xianning (The Bingshen or Fire Monkey Year, 276 AD)


1. In spring, the de facto Administrator of Dunhuang, Linghu Feng, passed away. His younger brother Linghu Hong took over from him. Yang Xin campaigned against Linghu Hong and killed him.


(Linghu Feng's assuming power as Administrator of Dunhuang is mentioned in the last book, in the eighth year of Taishi (272.14).)


2. Emperor Wu himself became seriously ill. However, he recovered, and the officials toasted his longevity.

Emperor Wu issued an edict stating, "Whenever I considered those who had perished from the pestilence, I felt deep sorrow for them. How could I let myself be at ease while forgetting the sufferings of the people? Let all the higher ceremonies and rites be dispensed with."


3. Before, the Prince of Qi, Sima You, had been greatly favored by Sima Zhao. Whenever Sima Zhao would see Sima You, he would address him by his childhood name; patting a spot on his couch, he would say, "Taofu, come and sit here!" And Sima Zhao had often considered making Sima You the Crown Prince.

When Sima Zhao was on his deathbed, he had reminded Emperor Wu about the affairs of Han's Prince of Huainan (Liu Chang) and Wei's Prince of Chenliu (Cao Zhi) with tears in his eyes, and he grasped Sima You's hand and charged him to assist Emperor Wu. And when the Empress Dowager, Wang Yuanji, had been on her deathbed, she had also wept as she told Emperor Wu, "Taofu has an eager nature, but you lack the affection of an elder brother. If I do not rise from this bed, I will certainly be afraid that you two will not be able to get along with each other. He is dependent upon you. Do not forget what I tell you!"

When Emperor Wu himself lay gravely ill, both the court and the people all believed that Sima You would succeed him. Sima You's concubine was Jia Chong's eldest daughter. The Intendant of Henan, Xiahou He, said to Jia Chong, "You have these two sons-in-law (Sima Zhong and Sima You), and you need only choose between them. When choosing a man, choose the virtuous one." Jia Chong had made no reply.

Sima You had long disliked Xun Xu and the Guard General of the Left, Feng Dan, for their fawning behavior. So Xun Xu sent Feng Dan to say to Emperor Wu, "Your Majesty, during the days when it seemed you would not recover from your illness, the Prince of Qi had all the nobles and officials submit to him. Although the Crown Prince wished to magnanimously give way to him, such a thing must be avoided! You should send the Prince back to his border post at once, in order to secure the state."

Emperor Wu secretly believed him, and he reassigned Xiahou He as Superintendent of the Imperial Household and deprived Jia Chong of his military authority. But Jia Chong's positions and treatment at court remained otherwise unchanged.


(Sima Zhao's consideration of Sima You as Crown Prince is mentioned in Book 78, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) first year of Xianxi (264.45 in Fang's Chronicles, where he is called Sima Yu).

Emperor Wen of Han had executed Prince Li of Huainan, his brother Liu Chang; Emperor Wen of Cao-Wei (Cao Pi) could not put up with Prince Si of Chenliu, his brother Cao Zhi. Sima Zhao used these two examples to instruct and warn Emperor Wu.

Jia Chong had married Lady Li, the daughter of Li Feng, and had two daughters by her. The elder daughter was named Jia Quan, and she became Sima You's concubine. When Xiahou He says 'you have these two sons-in-law', he means Sima You and Sima Zhong, who was married to his other daughter, Jia Nanfeng.

Jia Chong had held military authority since Sima Zhao's day.)


4. During Shi Dan's rebellion in Wu, someone had slandered the Commander of the Lower Capital Region, Sun Kai, to Sun Hao. They had told Sun Hao, "Sun Kai had not come quickly to deal with the rebels, because he meant to play both sides." Sun Hao had Sun Kai closely questioned several times, and he reassigned him as Guardian of the Lower Palace and General of Agile Cavalry. Sun Kai became apprehensive, so in summer, the sixth month, he fled to Jin with his wife and children. Jin appointed him as General of Chariots and Cavalry and Marquis of Danyang.


(Shi Dan's rebellion is mentioned in the last book, in the second year of Taishi (266.21).

The Commander of the Lower Capital Region guarded Jingkou. The Guardian of the Lower Palace was stationed at Jianye itself.

This Sun Kai was the son of Sun Shao.)


5. In autumn, the seventh month, some of the people of Wu said to Sun Hao, "Ever since the end of Han, Lake Linping has been stopped up by weeds. The elders would say, 'So long as this lake is stopped up, the realm will be in turmoil. But when the lake is open again, the realm shall know peace.' Recently, for no reason, the lake suddenly opened up again. This shows that the realm will soon know great peace, just as in the omen of your green canopy entering Luoyang."

Sun Hao asked the Commandant of the Guards, Chen Xun of Liyang commandary, to explain the matter. Chen Xun replied, "I can only read the ethers; I cannot interpret the opening or stopping up of lakes." Chen Xun then withdrew, and he mentioned to his friends, "This matter of the green canopy entering Luoyang will soon become a 'holding the jade in the mouth' affair (indicating surrender); it is no good omen."


(Lake Linping was within the territory of modern Renhe county in Lin'an commandary. There is a Linping Garrison, forty-eight li northwest of Fucheng in Lin'an.

The fortune predicting Sun Hao's green canopy would enter Luoyang is mentioned in the last book, in the eighth year of Taishi (272.18).

Eastern Wu had created the office of Commandant of the Attendants and Guards. It oversaw the palace servants and guards.)

陳訓,字道元,曆陽人。少好秘學,天文、算曆、陰陽、占候無不畢綜,尤善風角。孫晧以為奉禁都尉,使其占侯。晧政嚴酷,訓知其必敗而不敢言。時錢唐湖開,或言天下當太平,青蓋入洛陽。晧以問訓,訓曰:「臣止能望氣,不能達湖之開塞。」退而告其友曰:「青蓋入洛,將有輿櫬銜璧之事,非吉祥也。」尋而吳亡。訓隨例內徙,拜諫義大夫。俄而去職還鄉。(Book of Jin 95, Biography of Chen Xun)

Chen Xun, styled Daoyuan, was a native of Liyang commandary. Even as a youth, he was skilled at the mystic arts; he knew every aspect of astrology, calculation, naturalism, and divination, and he was especially adept at reading the winds.

Sun Hao appointed Chen Xun as his Commandant of the Guards and relied upon his divinations. Sun Hao was a harsh and ruthless ruler, and Chen Xun knew that he would eventually be defeated, but he did not dare to express this sentiment. At one point, Lake Qiantang was clear and open. People claimed that this meant the realm would soon experience an age of peace, and Sun Hao's green canopy would enter Luoyang. When Sun Hao asked Chen Xun about it, Chen Xun replied, "I can only read the ethers; I cannot interpret the opening or stopping up of lakes." Chen Xun then withdrew, and he mentioned to his friends, "This matter of the green canopy entering Luoyang will soon become a 'tying oneself to a coffin and holding the jade in the mouth' affair (indicating surrender); it is no good omen." And indeed, Wu soon fell.

After Wu was conquered, Chen Xun joined others to move to the capital, where he was appointed as Counselor Remonstrant. But he soon resigned his office and returned to his homeland.


6. Someone presented to Sun Hao a little stone with the characters for "Emperor" carved into it, saying they had found it beside the lake. Sun Hao declared a general amnesty, and changed the reign era title again to Tianxi.


7. Wu's Administrator of Xiangdong, Zhang Yong, did not send in the taxes collected on mercantile affairs. Sun Hao had him beheaded, and sent his head around various commandaries.

The Administrator of Kuaiji, Che Jun, was just, pure, and had many administrative achievements. When his commandary happened to suffer from famine and hunger, Che Jun sent in a request for aid. Sun Hao believed that he was currying private favor, so he sent officials to behead Che Jun and display his head as punishment.

The Master of Writing, Xiong Mu, offered some slight remonstrations. Sun Hao beat him to death with the ring of his sword, and then flayed the skin from his body.


(In Sun Liang's second year of Taiping (257), he had split off the eastern command posts of Changsha commandary and formed Xiangdong commandary.

The surname 車 Che comes from Tian Qianqiu.

There had been a Master 熊 Xiong with the Yellow Emperor. The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 熊 Xiong are the descendants of Yu Xiong of Chu. His given name became the name of their clan."

This passage demonstrates Sun Hao's wanton cruelty.)


8. In the eighth month, on the day Jihai (September 16th), Emperor Wu appointed He Zeng as Grand Tutor, Chen Qian as Grand Marshal, Jia Chong as the new Grand Commandant, and Sima You as Minister of Works.


9. At Mount Liyang in Wu, there were seven great burrows parallel to one another. The inside of the burrows was yellow and crimson. People claimed that there was a stone with writing on it, and they claimed, "Since this printed stone has been discovered, peace will come to the realm." The Chief of Liyang county sent up a report stating that the printed stone had been excavated, and Sun Hao sent an emissary to Liyang to make sacrifices and honor it.

The emissary built a tall ladder so he could climb onto the stone, where he saw these words printed in crimson: "Chu shall be the redoubt of the Nine Provinces. Wu shall be the capital of the Nine Provinces. The gentleman of Yangzhou shall be the Son of Heaven. After four eras have ruled, the age of peace will arrive."

The emissary returned and reported these things. Sun Hao was greatly pleased, and he appointed the spirit of the mountain as a Prince. He declared a general amnesty, and he changed the reign era title for the following year to Tianji.


(According to the Records of Wu, a report came in from Poyang stating, "A stone with raised characters on it has been discovered at Mount Liyang." The Jiangbiaozhuan states, "There was a mountain in Liyang county, facing the river and a hundred zhang in height. Thirty-six zhang up, it had seven great burrows in parallel." Now according to the Records of Jin, Poyang commandary did not have a Liyang county, but it did have a Liling county. So the Liyang in this passage should be Liling. And according to the modern Atlas Classic of Raozhou, there is a Mount Shiyin ("Mount Inscripted Stone") at Liling county in Poyang commandary.)

Sun Hao obviously interpreted this prophecy as referring to Eastern Wu and to him, but it may have referred to the later Eastern Jin dynasty and its successor states: Chu would mean the greater Jingzhou region and Wu the greater Yangzhou region, the "gentleman of Yangzhou" would mean Sima Rui or Emperor Yuan of Eastern Jin, and the "four eras" would mean the four subsequent southern dynasties (Liu-Song, Qi, Liang, and Chen) before the realm was once again united by the Sui dynasty.


10. In winter, the tenth month, Emperor Wu appointed the Prince of Ruyin, Sima Jun, as Grand General Who Conquers The West, and he appointed Yang Hu as Grand General Who Conquers The South. Both were granted general powers of governing, recruiting, and gathering soldiers, and they held authority equal to the Three Excellencies.


(This position was below that of Dukes.)


11. Yang Hu sent up a petition requesting a campaign against Wu. The petition stated, "His Late Majesty (Sima Zhao) pacified the lands of Ba and Shu in the west, and made peace with the lands of Wu and Kuaiji in the south. Thus were the people within the seas able to attain a moment's rest. But then Wu broke their peace agreements, and caused even greater incidents on the border. When the time to act has arrived, although Heaven may provide assistance in its own way, success shall not be realized without the actions of men. If we do not launch a grand undertaking now to sweep aside and vanquish the foe, then the soldiers must be kept ever ready and will never have a time for repose.

“When Shu was conquered, the whole realm said that Wu ought to be annexed as well. It has been thirteen years since that time. Although men may develop many strategies, only one of them can be decided upon. There are those who say that natural defenses are everything, and believe that such things can counter the strength of an enemy. But if there is already a difference in strength, and the strong and the weak are not of the same power, then even if the one side has natural defenses, those defenses cannot protect them.

“If we consider the state of Shu, it did not lack natural defenses. Everyone said of Shu’s defenses that one man armed with spear could hold back a thousand enemies. Yet on the day our soldiers in advanced into Shu, though Shu did have such border defenses, we won victories as easily as rolling up a carpet; we advanced all the way to Chengdu, while the fortresses of Hanzhong sat by like birds on their perches and did not dare to march out. It is not that the enemy had no heart for battle, but it was because their strength was not sufficient to oppose us. And when Liu Shan asked to surrender, their camps and forts all submitted and dispersed.

“Now the natural defenses of the Yangzi and the Huai River do not compare with that of Jiange. Sun Hao's cruelty exceeds that of Liu Shan's, and the people of Wu suffer much more than the people of Ba and Shu did. Furthermore, the strength of our soldiers in Jin has been flourishing all the more. If we do not take this moment to pacify all within the Four Seas, then the soldiers and defenses of both sides will be locked into stalemate: the realm will be burdened by the campaigns and garrisons, sufferings will grow and grow, and the situation could not be sustained for long.

“This is what I propose: the armies of Lianzhou and Yizhou should advance together by land and by water. The armies of Jingzhou and Chu should be brought up to the riverbank at Jiangling. The armies of the General Who Pacifies The South (Hu Fen) and the Inspector of Yuzhou (Wang Rong) should advance to Xiakou. The armies of Xuzhou, Yangzhou, Qingzhou, and Yanzhou should all combine their forces at Moling (Jianye). Wu occupies only its corner, and faced with the forces of all the realm, it shall have to divide its soldiers and disperse its power, so all its defenses shall be overwhelmed. The elite soldiers of Ba and Han can pierce Wu's weak points, and then the state will tumble and collapse in one stroke; even if they had a man of intelligence, he could devise no strategy to save Wu. Wu’s great bulwark is the Yangzi, stretching thousands of li from east to west. But against so great an enemy, it can provide them no security.

“Sun Hao is a wanton and arbitrary ruler, very suspicious of his subjects. His generals are uncertain of their court, and his gentry toil in the fields. He has no strategy to safeguard his legacy or settle the hearts of the people. Even on a normal day, there are those who desire to abandon him. When his soldiers encounter actual danger, certainly there are those who will follow him, but in the end they will not fight to the death on his behalf, as we already know. Their men exert themselves and are quick to battle, but they are unable to endure. Their bows, crossbows, spears, and shields cannot compare with those of the Middle Kingdom. It is only in naval warfare where they are superior, but once we enter their territory, the Yangzi can no longer protect them, and then they shall have to fall back upon their walls and moats. They will be abandoning their advantages in favor of their disadvantages, where they are no match for us. When our army marches forth, the men will have the ardor of fighting even unto death, while the people of Wu will be internally conflicted, and each man will think only of where he can flee to. In such a situation, even without the army taking much time, our victory will be certain."

Emperor Wu agreed with his thoughts. But the court was concerned about the situation in Qinzhou and Liangzhou.

Yang Hu submitted another petition stating, "Once Wu is pacified, the barbarians will settle down of their own accord. Only you must act quickly to secure the great achievement."

But most of the court ministers did not agree, with Jia Chong, Xun Xu, and Feng Dan especially opposing a campaign against Wu.

Yang Hu sighed and said, "In every affair, there are usually seven or eight people out of every ten who oppose the idea. If we do not accept what Heaven is offering, surely we shall regret it all the more later!"

Only the Logistical Director of the Masters of Writing, Du Yu, and the Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, Zhang Hua, agreed with Emperor Wu's stance on the campaign, and approved of his plans.


(Now that Lu Kang was gone, Yang Hu began to submit petitions requesting a campaign against Eastern Wu.

Cao-Wei's conquest of Shu-Han is mentioned in Book 78, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) fourth year of Jingyuan (263).

Cao-Wei's peace agreement with Eastern Wu is mentioned in the same book, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's first year of Xianxi (264.44 in Fang's Chronicles).

Sun Hao's breaking off of relations with Jin is mentioned in the last book, in the first year of Taishi (265.8).

Shu-Han had been conquered in the fourth year of Jingyuan (263), so it had been thirteen years between that year and this one.

By "the cities of Hanzhong", Yang Hu means Han, Luo, and the other cities in that area.

When Yang Hu says "the situation could not be sustained for long", he refers to how the number of soldiers and officers would have to grow year by year, with greater numbers of camps and garrisons, which would cause sorrow to the people.

Regarding the commanders of the forces which Yang Hu suggests make these military movements, Wang Jun and Tang Bin were in command of the soldiers of Lianzhou and Yizhou; Jingzhou and the Chu region were under Yang Hu's own command; Hu Fen was the General Who Pacifies The South and Wang Rong was the Inspector of Yuzhou; Wang Hun held the command over Xuzhou and Yangzhou; and Sima You was in command over Qingzhou and Yanzhou. When the actual conquest of Eastern Wu was carried out, the troop movements were all exactly as Yang Hu suggested here.

Qinzhou and Liangzhou were still in turmoil because Tufa Shujineng had not yet been pacified.

Yang Hu's final lament in this passage was that if Eastern Wu could be conquered, and yet was not, then the opportunity to conquer it would slip away, and once this fact was realized, how could the people of later times not regret it?

Cao-Wei had created the office of Logistical Director of the Masters of Writing.)


12. On the day Dingmao (December 13th), Emperor Wu made Lady Yang Zhi his Empress, and he declared a general amnesty. Yang Zhi was the cousin of Empress Yuan (Yang Yan). She was beautiful and possessed of wifely virtues.

When Emperor Wu had first been betrothed to Yang Zhi, her uncle Yang Yao had sent up a petition stating, "Since old times, whenever the same household has provided two empresses, it has never been able to save every member of its clan. I beg that you hide this petition in the ancestral temple, and if by chance a day should come which seems to agree with what I have just said, then I may use this petition to avoid disaster." Emperor Wu agreed to his request.


(Although Yang Yao had this petition, in the end, it could not save him from disaster.)

珧字文琚,歷位尚書令、衛將軍。素有名稱,得幸于武帝,時望在駿前。以兄貴盛,知權寵不可居,自乞遜位,前後懇至,終不獲許。初,聘後,珧表曰:「歷觀古今,一族二后,未嘗以全,而受覆宗之禍。乞以表事藏之宗廟,若如臣之言,得以免禍。」從之。右軍督趙休上書陳:「王莽五公,兄弟相代。今楊氏三公,並在大位,而天變屢見,臣竊為陛下憂之。」由此珧益懼。固求遜位,聽之,賜錢百萬、絹五千匹。(Book of Jin 40, Biography of Yang Yao)

Yang Yao, styled Wenju, was the younger brother of Yang Jun. He served as Prefect of the Masters of Writing and then as Guard General. He had long enjoyed a good reputation, and he thus won the favor of Emperor Wu, so that during that time, Yang Yao had more influence than Yang Jun.

Once Yang Jun became more exalted and powerful, Yang Yao knew that this greater favor and influence would not last. He wished to resign his own positions, and several times made a request to do so, but Emperor Wu never did agree to let him resign. But earlier, when the betrothal of Yang Jun's daughter Yang Zhi to Sima Zhong (Emperor Hui) had first been arranged, Yang Yao had submitted a petition stating, "From ancient times until now, whenever the same household has provided two empresses, it has never been able to preserve itself; all met with disaster in the end. I beg that you hide this petition in the ancestral temple, and if my words should prove true, then I may use this petition to avoid disaster." Emperor Wu did agree to this request.

The Commander of the Right, Zhao Xiu, sent up a letter stating, "Remember that Wang Mang and his four brothers all held powerful roles. Now in our own time, the three Yao brothers each have great offices. Furthermore, there have been several sightings of disturbances in the heavens. I humbly implore Your Majesty to consider this."

Yang Yao was now even more afraid, and he insisted on being allowed to resign. Emperor Wu at last heeded him, and he gave him gifts of a million gold and five thousand bolts of fine silk.


13. In the twelfth month, the General Who Guards The Army, Yang Zhi's father Yang Jun, was appointed as General of Chariots and Cavalry and Marquis of Linjin. Two of the Masters of Writing, Chu Lüe and Guo Yi, both petitioned that Yang Jun was a man of meager talents, and could not be entrusted with important matters of state. Emperor Wu ignored them.

Yang Jun began to grow very arrogant and proud because of his new position. Hu Fen said to him, "You are acting like more of a braggart just because of your daughter's position! One can see from history that those connected with the heavenly family by marriage have never yet escaped the fate of having their clans exterminated. You will suffer the same fate, sooner or later."

Yang Jun asked him, "Isn't your own daughter also connected to the heavenly family?"

Hu Fen replied, "My daughter merely works as a servant girl for yours; how can that have any effect on my rise or fall?"


(The state itself was called 晉 Jin, and yet the Empress's father was given the title Marquis of 臨晉 Linjin. This was an inauspicious portent.

There can be no other person who is as honored as the Son of Heaven, so his family is called the heavenly family, since he is as honored as Heaven is.)

楊駿,字文長,弘農華陰人也。少以王官為高陸令,驍騎、鎮軍二府司馬。後以后父超居重位,自鎮軍將軍遷車騎將軍,封臨晉侯。識者議之曰:「夫封建諸侯,所以籓屏王室也。后妃,所以供粢盛,弘內教也。后父始封而以臨晉為侯,兆於亂矣。」尚書褚䂮、郭奕並表駿小器,不可以任社稷之重。武帝不從。(Book of Jin 40, Biography of Yang Jun)

Yang Jun, styled Wenchang, was a native of Huayin county in Hongnong commandary. As a young man, he served in the royal administration first as Prefect of Gaolu, then as Marshal on the staff of the General of Agile Cavalry and the General Who Guards The Army. Later, after his daughter was chosen to be the new Empress, he suddenly occupied a much higher position, and was transferred from General Who Guards The Army to General of Agile Cavalry. He was also appointed as Marquis of Linjin.

Those who understood the implications of such things told one another, "The purpose of establishing marquises is to have them serve on the border as shields for the royal household, while the Empress should remain within the capital in order to provide for the sacrifices and expand inner learning. Yet the Empress's father has just been appointed as a Marquis with Linjin as his fief. This is an omen of turmoil."

Two of the Masters of Writing, Chu Lüe and Guo Yi, both petitioned that Yang Jun was a man of meager talents, and could not be entrusted with important matters of state. Emperor Wu ignored them.

時楊駿以後父驕傲自得,奮謂駿曰:「卿恃女更益豪邪?曆觀前代,與天家婚,未有不滅門者,但早晚事耳。觀卿舉措,適所以速禍。」駿曰:「卿女不在天家乎?」奮曰:「我女與卿女作婢耳,何能損益!」時人皆為之懼,駿雖銜之,而不能害。(Book of Jin 57, Biography of Hu Fen)

At that time, the minister Yang Jun had grown very arrogant and proud because he was Empress Yang Zhi’s father. Hu Fen said to him, “Aren’t you acting like a braggart just because of your daughter’s position? One can see from history that those connected with the heavenly family by marriage have never yet escaped the fate of having their clans exterminated. You will suffer the same fate, sooner or later. And seeing the way you act, you will suffer disaster that much quicker.”

Yang Jun asked him, “Isn’t your own daughter also connected to the heavenly family?”

Hu Fen replied, “My daughter merely works as a servant girl for yours; how can that have any effect on my rise or fall?”

People worried for Hu Fen then because he had said such things. But although Yang Jun had power over Hu Fen, he never could do him harm.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:21 pm


The Third Year of Xianning (The Dingyou or Fire Rooster Year, 277 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Bingzi (February 20th), there was an eclipse.


2. Emperor Wu had appointed his son Sima Yu as Prince of Shiping. On the day Gengyin (March 6th), Sima Yu passed away.


3. In the third month, the Army Protector Who Pacifies The Caitiffs, Wen Yang, led the armies of Liangzhou, Qinzhou, and Yongzhou to campaign against Tufa Shujineng. Wen Yang routed him, and he accepted the surrender of two hundred thousand various tribesmen.


4. In summer, the fifth month, the Wu generals Shao Yi and Xia Xiang led a group of more than seven thousand people to come surrender to Jin.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Wu in the Book of Jin records this first general as Shao Kai. But I follow the account of the Biography of Yang Hu in the Book of Jin.")


5. In autumn, the seventh month, Jin's Prince of Zhongshan, Sima Mu, was charged with recruiting people for his own purposes and helping them to avoid their draft duties. He was demoted to Marquis of Danshui County.


6. There were shooting stars in the Purple Palace portion of the night sky.


7. Jin’s Guard General, Yang Yao, and others held council, and said to Emperor Wu, "In ancient times, the reasons that the feudal lords were granted their titles was so that they could guard the borders in order to protect the royal family. But now, the Princes and Dukes are all in residence at the capital, which is contrary to their duties of guarding their cities. Furthermore, the people who actually are on the borders of the state are those who are not of the same family as the royal clan. You should have them be advised by your relatives."

So Emperor Wu issued an edict dividing the fiefs of the various Princes into three tiers. The largest fiefs would have command of three armies made up of five thousand men; the next largest fiefs would have command of two armies, with three thousand men; the smallest fiefs, one army and eleven hundred men. The Princes, being made Commanders, would thus each be sent to reside in their fiefs to be close at hand to their soldiers.

In the eighth month, on the day Guihai (?), Emperor Wu made adjustments to the ranks and titles of several of the Princes. The Prince of Fufeng, Sima Liang, was made Prince of Runan, Grand General Who Guards The South, and Commander of military affairs in Yuzhou. The Prince of Langye, Sima Lun, was made Prince of Zhao and charged with defending Ye. The Prince of Bohai, Sima Fu, was made Prince of Taiyuan and Chief of military affairs in Bingzhou. Since the Prince of Dongguan, Sima Zhou, was in Xuzhou, he was made the new Prince of Langye. Since the Prince of Ruyin, Sima Jun, was in Guanzhong, he was made the new Prince of Fufeng. Emperor Wu also made the Prince of Taiyuan, Sima Yong, into the Prince of Hejian, and he made the current Prince of Runan, Sima Jian, into the Prince of Nanyang. This Sima Fu was the son of the late Sima Fu, Prince Xian of Anping, and Sima Yong was his grandson.

Those princes who held no government office were all sent to their fiefs. The various Princes and Dukes all loved being in the capital, and they wept at being sent away.

Emperor Wu also appointed several more of his own sons as Princes. Sima Wei was appointed as Prince of Shiping, Sima Yun was appointed Prince of Puyang, Sima Gai was appointed Prince of Xindu, and Sima Xia was appointed Prince of Qinghe.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "According to the Records of Government Service in the Book of Jin, Yang Yao and Xun Xu proposed moving the princes to their fiefs because Sima You enjoyed popularity at that time, and they feared that the Crown Prince (Sima Zhong) might face difficulties later on because of that. Emperor Wu had not yet looked closely into the issue, so he sent down an edict ordering them to discuss a system for it. But according to the Biography of Xun Xu in the Book of Jin, Xun Xu actually disagreed with the proposal. Furthermore, at this time, Sima You was not at his fief. I suspect that these sayings were untrue, so I did not include them."

At this time, the fiefs of the greatest tier were Pingyuan, Runan, Langye, Fufeng, and Qi. The next greatest fiefs were Liang, Zhao, Le'an, Yan, Anping, and Yiyang. All the other fiefs were of the smallest tier.)

楚隱王瑋,字彥度,武帝第五子也。初封始平王,曆屯騎校尉。(Book of Jin 59, Biography of Sima Wei)

Sima Wei, styled Yandu, was the fifth son of Emperor Wu. His posthumous title was Prince Yin of Chu.

Originally, Sima Wei was appointed as Prince of Shiping and Colonel of Camped Cavalry.

坐使散騎將劉緝買工所將盜御裘,廷尉杜友正緝棄市,倫當與緝同罪。有司奏倫爵重屬親,不可坐。諫議大夫劉毅駁曰:「王法賞罰,不阿貴賤,然後可以齊禮制而明典刑也。倫知裘非常,蔽不語吏,與緝同罪。當以親貴議減,不得闕而不論。宜自于一時法中,如友所正。」帝是毅駁,然以倫親親故,下詔赦之。及之國,行東中郎將、宣威將軍。咸甯中,改封于趙,遷平北將軍、督鄴城守事,進安北將軍。(Book of Jin 59, Biography of Sima Lun)

Sima Lun was accused of having sent one of the Cavaliers In Regular Attendance, Liu Ji, to pay workers to steal imperial fur coats. The Minister of Justice, Du You, had Liu Ji cast out in the marketplace, and he felt that Sima Lun should likewise suffer punishment for the crime. But the officials petitioned that because of Sima Lun's high office and close blood ties to the royal family, he could not be charged with the crime.

One of the Counselors Remonstrant, Liu Yi, disagreed and said, "The king and his laws must reward the good and punish the wicked, regardless of the lofty or meager station of the accused. It is by following this precept that the rule of law is made clear. Sima Lun knew full well that this coat was of no common stock, and he hid the fact rather than speak to the officials. He is as guilty of the crime as Liu Ji. Considering Sima Lun's closeness and his prestige, at the very least, you ought to be discussing diminishing his authority; you can speak of nothing less. And what you really ought to do is heed the law itself, and do as Du You proposed."

Emperor Wu respected Liu Yi's objections, but because of Sima Lun's close ties, he issued an edict pardoning him. But Sima Lun was sent to his fief and appointed as acting General of the Household Gentlemen of the East and General Who Displays Might.

During the Xianning reign era (275-279), Sima Lun's title was changed to Prince of Zhao. He was transferred to be General Who Pacifies The North and Commander of military affairs at Ye, and he was promoted to General Who Maintains The North.

河間王顒,字文載,安平獻王孚孫,太原烈王瑰之子也。初襲父爵,咸寧二年就國。三年,改封河間。(Book of Jin 59, Biography of Sima Yong)

The Prince of Hejian, Sima Yong, was styled Wenzai. He was the grandson of Prince Xian ("the Presented") of Anping, Sima Fu, and the son of Prince Lie ("the Fierce") of Taiyuan, Sima Gui. Originally, Sima Yong inherited his father's title as Prince of Taiyuan, and in the second year of the Xianning reign era (276), he was sent to that fief. But in the third year (277), his fief was changed to Hejian.


8. Those ministers who were not of the royal clan but who had made great achievements were all appointed as Dukes of commandaries or Marquises of counties. Jia Chong was appointed Duke of Lu commandary. Wang Chen's posthumous title was changed to Duke of Boling commandary.


9. Yang Hu’s title was changed from Marquis of Juping to Marquis of Nancheng commandary. However, Yang Hu firmly declined it and would not accept it. Whenever Yang Hu was granted ranks or titles, he would usually decline them many times until his heart was satisfied; this was why he was treated with special indulgence in the matter of ranks and titles.

Yang Hu served under two generations of rulers, and in offices and canons he played a pivotal role. Many people tried to plot and discuss with him on how he could help them advance themselves, but Yang Hu always burned their writings, and never lent an ear to their words. Whenever he did help with someone's advancement, he never let them know that he was the one responsible. Yang Hu often said, "I dare not be the kind of man who uses the powers of my office and of the court to gain favors and build private advantages."


(At this time, Emperor Wu had split off part of southern Taishan commandary to form Nancheng commandary. Nancheng was made up of the five counties of Wuyang, Mou, Nancheng, Liangfu, and Pingyang. Yang Hu was himself a native of Nancheng County in Taishan commandary. Under Emperor Wu's system for Dukes and Marquises, the greatest fiefs had villages totaling more than ten thousand households; the next greatest fiefs, more than five thousand households; and the smallest fiefs, less than five thousand households.

By "indulgence", it means he was treated with courtesy when it came to his repeatedly declining the offered ranks and titles.

Yang Hu had served under Sima Zhao and Emperor Wu.

When someone gained success due to Yang Hu's recommendations, they did not know that he was the source of it.)


10. There were great floods in the seven provinces of Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Qingzhou, Xuzhou, Jingzhou, Yizhou, and Lianzhou.


11. In winter, the twelfth month, Wu's Commander of Xiakou, Sun Shen, invaded Jiangxia and Runan. Sun Shen captured more than a thousand families before returning to Wu.

Emperor Wu sent his ministers to scold Yang Hu for not pursuing Sun Shen and attacking him, and they wished for him to move to Jingzhou. Yang Hu said, "Jiangxia is eight hundred li from Xiangyang; by the time we had heard of the invaders, they would have already been gone for days. How could the infantry ever catch up with them? I have no intention of troubling the soldiers just to escape censure myself.

“Years ago, when Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) created the Commanders, they were of a similar sort to provincial ministers, and they kept their strength together so that the combined power of the soldiers would be a match for any scattered detachment of the enemy. On the borders, when the enemy is like this, we ought to guard ourselves carefully most of all. If we are always shifting around the provinces, then when the enemy makes some unusual invasion, we shall not know which places in the province we ought to rely upon."


(Jiangxia commandary was part of Jingzhou, while Runan commandary was part of Yuzhou; they were a considerable distance from one another. Shen Yue's Records of Liu-Song states, "The Administrator of Jiangxia governed the territory from Runan County. It was originally the land of Shayi, but in the final years of Jin, the people of Runan commandary fled that place and settled at Xiakou, and that place was made Runan." So this Jiangxia commandary did not yet have a Runan County, yet the historian backdates it!

Regarding the Inspectors and Commanders, for instance, if the Inspector of Yangzhou had his base at Shouchun, then the Commander of the armies of Yangzhou would also have his base there.

In the Zuo Commentary, Duke Huan of Lu says, "On the borders it is for you carefully to guard your own particular charge, and to be prepared for anything unexpected. (Huan 17.3)")


12. During this year, Chen Qian returned from Yangzhou and entered the court, where he was appointed Duke of Gaoping.


13. Sun Hao often listened to the slanders and false reports given to him by a certain Zhang Chu of Kuaiji. He greatly favored Zhang Chu, and gave him many offices. Zhang Chu eventually became Director of Justice, General of the Household Gentlemen, and a Marquis.

Zhang Chu's father was a gentleman living in Shanyin County; he knew that his son was not a good man, so he sent up a petition stating, "If you use my son as Director of Justice, and he commits some crime, I beg that you do not charge me as well." Sun Hao agreed to the request.

Zhang Chu employed twenty people as musicians, and he conducted all of his affairs lawlessly. Whether out of love or hate, all the ministers and common people informed on each other's misdeeds to him. The prisons were soon filled to the brim, while hue and cry spread on every side. Zhang Chu made many perverse profits, and he was arrogant, impulsive, and cruel.

When all these things came to light, Sun Hao had both Zhang Chu and his father torn apart by chariots.


(Shanyin County was part of Kuaiji commandary.

The term 犴 means a wild dog. Wild dogs can be used to guard things, and this was the origin of the term 獄 for prison. The tribal regions also call a dog a 犴.)


14. Wei Guan sent Tuoba Shamohan back to his state.

After Tuoba Shamohan had first gone to Wei as a hostage, the khan Tuoba Liwei began to favor his other sons who remained with him. After Tuoba Shamohan returned, the various Tuoba chiefs all slandered him and killed him.

Tuoba Liwei then became deathly ill. The King of the Wuhuan, Kuxian, was a close friend to Tuoba Liwei, and he handled affairs. Kuxian had taken bribes from Wei Guan, and he wished to cause turmoil among the chiefs. So he brought a whetstone and an axe into the court, and he said to the assembled chiefs, "The khan regrets that you brought about the slander and death of the Crown Prince. Now he wants to arrest all of your eldest sons and kill them." The chiefs were very afraid, and they all fled, each going his own way.

Tuoba Liwei then passed away from grief; he was a hundred and three years old. His son Tuoba Xilu inherited his position, and the state mourned for him.


(In the previous year, Wei Guan had detained Tuoba Shamohan while stirring up slander against him, and now he released him to return to his state.

Tuoba Shamohan's first journey to Cao-Wei to serve as a hostage is mentioned in Book 77, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) second year of Jingyuan (261.8 in Fang’s Chronicles).

We see from this passage that by this time, the Xianbei chiefs and elders were already being addressed by the term "khan".

This passage records Tuoba Liwei's successor as Tuoba 悉祿 Xilu. Wei Shou's Book of Northern Wei records his name as Tuoba 悉鹿 Xilu.)

五十八年,方遣帝。始祖聞帝歸,大悅,使諸部大人詣陰館迎之。酒酣,帝仰視飛鳥,謂諸大人曰:「我為汝曹取之。」援彈飛丸,應弦而落。時國俗無彈,眾咸大驚,乃相謂曰:「太子風彩被服,同於南夏,兼奇術絕世,若繼國統,變易舊俗,吾等必不得志,不若在國諸子,習本淳樸。」咸以為然。且離間素行,乃謀危害,並先馳還。始祖問曰:「我子既歷他國,進德何如?」皆對曰:「太子才藝非常,引空弓而落飛鳥,是似得晉人異法怪術,亂國害民之兆,惟願察之。」自帝在晉之後,諸子愛寵日進,始祖年踰期頤,頗有所惑,聞諸大人之語,意乃有疑。因曰:「不可容者,便當除之。」於是諸大人乃馳詣塞南,矯害帝。既而,始祖甚悔之。帝身長八尺,英姿瓌偉,在晉之日,朝士英俊多與親善,雅為人物歸仰。後乃追諡焉。其年,始祖不豫。烏丸王庫賢,親近任勢,先受衞瓘之貨,故欲沮動諸部,因在庭中礪鉞斧,諸大人問欲何為,答曰:「上恨汝曹讒殺太子,今欲盡收諸大人長子殺之。」大人皆信,各各散走。始祖尋崩。凡饗國五十八年,年一百四歲。太祖即位,尊為始祖。章皇帝諱悉鹿立,始祖之子也。(Book of Northern Wei 1)

In the fifty-eighth year of Tuoba Liwei's reign (277), Wei Guan finally allowed Tuoba Shamohan to complete his journey home. When Tuoba Liwei heard that Tuoba Shamohan had returned, he was overjoyed, and he ordered the various chiefs to come to Yinguan and welcome his return.

After becoming drunk, Tuoba Shamohan looked up and saw a bird in flight. He said to the chiefs, "I will get that bird for you all." And he took out a flying pellet, fixed it to a string and shot down the bird.

Such pellets were unknown among the people of the Tuoba state, and so everyone was greatly shocked by this. They said to one another, "The Crown Prince has taken up the same customs and clothing as the southern Xia (ethnic Han), and he has these unique talents. If he should take over the state, he will change all of our old ways. Then none of us shall attain our ambitions. It would be better for one of the sons who has grown up among us to be the heir, one who is practiced in our ways and in pure honesty." Everyone agreed with this sentiment. And since discord had long been sown between them, the chiefs plotted to do harm to the Crown Prince, so they all rushed back.

Tuoba Liwei asked them, "My son has been living in a foreign state. How stand his virtues?"

They all replied, "The Crown Prince has most unusual talents and skills. He was able to shoot down a bird with an empty bowstring. Such things are like the strange and unusual arts of the people of Jin. This is an omen of turmoil in our state and harm to our people. We pray you shall look into this matter."

Now ever since Tuoba Shamohan had gone to Jin, Tuoba Liwei's other sons had received more love and favor by the day. And by this time, Tuoba Liwei was more than a hundred years old. He was already in his dotage, and when he heard such reports from the chiefs, he became even more suspicious. So he said, "I cannot let that happen. I should do away with him."

Then the chiefs rushed to visit the southern border (with Jin), where they deceived and killed Tuoba Shamohan. However, Tuoba Liwei deeply regretted what had happened.

Tuoba Shamohan was eight 尺 tall, and he had many heroic qualities. During the time he was in Jin, many of the heroes and talented people of the Jin court had formed good friendships with him, and many important people interacted with him. He was later given a posthumous title.

The same year, Tuoba Liwei no longer appeared in public. The King of the Wuhuan, Kuxian, was close to Tuoba Liwei and wielded great power, and he had earlier taken bribes from Wei Guan as well. He wanted to cause divisions among the Tuoba tribes. So he brought a whetstone and an axe into the court. The chiefs asked him what the meaning of this was, and he replied, "Our lord regrets that you brought about the slander and death of the Crown Prince. Now he wants to arrest all the eldest sons of the chiefs and kill them." The chiefs believed him, and they all scattered and fled.

Tuoba Liwei himself soon passed away. He had ruled his state for fifty-eight years, and he was a hundred and three years old. Many years later, after Taizu (Tuoba Gui) established himself as Emperor of Northern Wei, he honored Tuoba Liwei with the temple name Shizu.

Emperor Zhang, Tuoba Xilu, was Tuoba Liwei's son.


15. Up until now, Youzhou and Bingzhou had both been menaced by the Xianbei on their borders. With (Liu?) Wuhuan in the east, and Tuoba Liwei in the west, there had been many dangers. But thanks to Wei Guan's secret machinations, (Liu?) Wuhuan had submitted and Tuoba Liwei was dead. The Jin court commended Wei Guan's achievement, and his younger brother was made a village Marquis.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "Wei Shou's Book of Northern Wei mentions a certain Liu Wuhuan: 'The Tiefu leader Liu Hu was a grandson of the Xiongnu leader Qubei. In the fourth year of Emperor Zhaocheng's reign, his son Liu Wuhuan succeeded him.' Now the fourth year of Zhaocheng's reign was the same as Emperor Cheng of Jin's seventh year of Xiankang (341), so the Liu Wuhuan mentioned here could not have been alive at the same time as Wei Guan. It must be that there were two men who both had the given name Wuhuan.")
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:24 pm


The Fourth Year of Xianning (The Wuxu or Earth Dog Year, 278 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Gengwu (February 9th), there was an eclipse.


2. The Marshal-Commander, Ma Long of Dongping, sent up a petition stating, "The Inspector of Liangzhou, Yang Xin, has lost the goodwill of the Qiang and Rong tribes. He is sure to be defeated." In summer, the sixth month, Yang Xin fought Tufa Shujineng's subordinates, Ruoluobaneng and others, at Wuwei, but he was defeated and killed.


(Under the Jin system, the two Guard Generals each had a Marshal for the Vanguard, the Main Camp, and the Heavy Crossbows; each of these Marshals were designated as Commanders. Shen Yue remarked, "During Emperor Wu of Jin's reign, there were Marshal-Commanders of the Palace, who were in charge of the palace guards; they were called the Three Marshals, and they had divided authority with the General of the Palace and the two Guard Generals of the Left and Right.

Ma Long declared that Yang Xin would certainly be defeated, just as during Han, Huangfu Gui had said that Ma Xian would be defeated (see Note 20 to 161.H in de Crespigny’s Emperors Huan and Ling). Ma Long cherished his own talents and wished to use them, and this was why he nominated himself.)

樹機能敗涼州剌史蘇榆於金山,又殺涼州剌史楊欣於丹嶺,盡有涼州之地。武帝為之旰食。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 12, Biography of Tufa Wugu)

Tufa Shujineng defeated the Inspector of Liangzhou, Su Yu, at Mount Jin, and he killed the next Inspector of Liangzhou, Yang Xin, at the Dang Ranges. All of Liangzhou was under his control, and he worried Emperor Wu so much that he was unable to eat until late in the day.

樹機能敗涼州刺史蘇愉于金山。咸寧中,又斬涼州刺史楊欣於丹嶺,盡有涼州之地。(Book of Northern Wei 99, Biography of Tufa Wugu)

Tufa Shujineng defeated the Inspector of Liangzhou, Su Yu, at Mount Jin. During the Xiankang era (275-279), he also beheaded the next Inspector of Liangzhou, Yang Xin, at the Dang Ranges. All of Liangzhou was under his control.

樹機能敗涼州刺史蘇愉于金山,盡有涼州之地,武帝為之旰食。(Book of Jin 126, Biography of Tufa Shujineng)

Tufa Shujineng defeated the Inspector of Liangzhou, Su Yu, at Mount Jin. All of Liangzhou was under his control, and he worried Emperor Wu so much that he was unable to eat until late in the day.


3. Jin’s Empress Hongxun, Yang Huiyu, passed away.


(She had been Sima Shi's wife, and she had resided in Hongxun Palace after Emperor Wu's ascension.)


4. Yang Hu became sick, and he asked to come to court. When he arrived, Emperor Wu ordered him to be carried into the palace in a sedan chair, and Yang Hu sat down without having to salute. Yang Hu sat face to face with Emperor Wu and explained his plans for a campaign against Wu, and Emperor Wu praised them.

Since Yang Hu was sick, Emperor Wu did not wish to trouble him by having him constantly come to see him, so Emperor Wu sent Zhang Hua to ask Yang Hu about his plans and strategies. Yang Hu told him, "Sun Hao is especially violent and cruel; we could overcome him right now even without fighting. But if something should happen to Sun Hao and he is no more, then the people of Wu will set up a new sovereign in his place. If that happened, even if we had an army of a million men, we would not even make it past the Yangzi. This is a great danger lying in wait for us!" Zhang Hua was in deep agreement. Yang Hu then said, "You yourself are the one who can realize my ambition."

Emperor Wu wished to send Yang Hu to lead the various generals, even as a convalescent. Yang Hu said to him, "You do not need for me to go myself in order to obtain Wu. But after Wu has been pacified, then you ought to exert your sage wisdom and consideration. I dare not claim the reputation for success myself; if the thing can be done, I ought to hand authority over to someone else. Look to the borders, and choose some other man."


(Since the southeast region was a broad and distant area, Yang Hu was saying that Emperor Wu ought to find a man who could guard and protect it.)


5. In summer, the seventh month, on the day Jichou (August 27th), Empress Jingxian (Yang Huiyu) was buried at Junping Tomb.


(This was the same Empress Hongxun just mentioned.)


6. There were great floods in the provinces of Sizhou, Jizhou, Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Jingzhou, and Yangzhou, and the snout moth larva harmed the crops.

Emperor Wu issued an edict asking his ministers, "What can be done to help the common people?"

The Logistical Director of the Masters of Writing, Du Yu, sent up a petition stating, "The recent flooding has been especially hard on the southeast. You should order Yanzhou, Yuzhou, and the other provinces to restore the old Han retaining ponds and channel out the floodwaters, so that the excess water can be decisively reduced. Then those who are starving can eat up all of the fish, vegetables, cicadas, and other insects there in abundance. This will be a benefit they can see immediately, right before their eyes.

“Then, once the floodwaters have been brought under control, the silt can be repurposed as fertilizer for the fields, and their harvest will be several times greater. This will be a benefit for the following year.

“Furthermore, the Livestock Overseer officials have more than 45,000 oxen that are not being used either plowing or pulling carts, and some of them have grown up without ever even being put to work. We can divide up these oxen and give them to the common people, and let them use the oxen to plow their fields in the spring. The grain supplies will rise ever higher, which will let the people bear the burden of higher taxes in the future. This will be a benefit for many years to come."

Emperor Wu followed Du Yu's suggestions, and the common people greatly appreciated the benefits that they brought. The people of that time gave Du Yu the name "Arsenal Du", by which they meant there was nothing which he had not provided for.


(Sizhou was so named ("direct") because during Han, it was the domain of the Colonel-Director of Retainers. During Han, that officer oversaw commandaries and counties just like an Inspector of a province would. So Jin named the region Sizhou. It administered the commandaries of Henan, Xingyang, Hongnong, Shangluo, Pingyang, Hedong, Ji, Henei, Guangping, Yangping, Wei, and Dunqiu. Jizhou was so named ("hope") because during turmoil, people hope for stability; during weakness, they hope for strength; during want, they hope for plenty. It administered the princely fief of Zhao, the commandaries of Julu, Anping, Pingyuan, Leling, Bohai, Hejian, Gaoyang, Boling, Qinghe, Zhongshan, Changshan, and other commandaries and fiefs.

The snout moth larva is an insect that consumes the heart of seedlings.

The ministers to whom Emperor Wu appealed were his 左民 and Logistical Director ministers.

According to the Records of Jin, "The Livestock Officials were subordinate to the Minister Coachman."

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Records of Food and Commodities in the Book of Jin states that Du Yu's policies stated in this passage were put into effect in 'the third year of Xianning (277)', while the Biography of Du Yu in the Book of Jin states it was 'the fourth year (278)'. According to the Records of the Five Elements, there was indeed great flooding in the third year, but there is no mention of insect-related disasters; it mentions the snout moth larva in the fourth year. So I follow the account of the Biography of Du Yu."

In the sixth year of Taishi (270), Du Yu had been recalled from his post as Inspector of Qinzhou to defend himself against charges in the capital. At that time, he was appointed as Logistical Director of the Masters of Writing. By now, he had served in that office for seven years.)


7. In the ninth month, He Zeng was appointed as Grand Governor. On the day Xinsi (October 18th), the Palace Attendant and Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Li Yin, was appointed as Minister Over The Masses.


8. Sun Hao was suspicious of anyone who seemed to be better than him. One such target of his suspicions was the Palace Attendant and Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, Zhang Shang. This Zhang Shang was the grandson of Zhang Hong. He was skilled at debating with other people, and people discussed his every utterance, so Sun Hao gradually began to hate him.

At one point, Sun Hao asked Zhang Shang, "In drinking wine, whom do I take after?"

Zhang Shang replied, "Your Majesty has 'the capacity of a hundred goblets'."

Sun Hao said, "You know very well that Confucius was not a king, and yet you would have me take after him." He became suddenly angry, and ordered Zhang Shang to be arrested.

More than a hundred of the nobles and chief officials came to the palace and kowtowed before Sun Hao, asking that he forgive Zhang Shang's offense. So Sun Hao at first merely exiled Zhang Shang to Jian'an to build ships, but he later had Zhang Shang killed anyway.


(Zhang Hong served under Sun Ce and Sun Quan, as seen in the Annals of Emperor Xian of Han.

The 孔叢子 has this story: "Lord Pingyuan of Zhao was drinking heavily together with Confucius, and he urged strong wine on him. Lord Pingyuan said to Confucius, 'It has been said that Emperor Yao could drink a thousand 鍾 of wine. You yourself can drink a hundred goblets, and from what your disciple Zilu claims, he can drink ten vessels himself. Now the sages and worthies of old had no capacity for wine. Master, how are you able to manage?" A goblet is a kind of wine vessel, which can hold two 升 of wine.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms states, 'Cen Hun and the other officials bowed their heads in the mud and begged that they might suffer death in place of Zhang Shang. So Zhang Shang was able to avoid the death sentence, and was instead exiled to Guangzhou.' But I follow the account of the Biography of Zhang Shang in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (at the end of the Biography of Zhang Hong), with some additions from Master Huan's Records of Wu." As for what I, Hu Sanxing, believe, it was Zhang Shang's skill in dealing with people that allowed him to attain a position so close to Sun Hao, but it was that same skill which also brought on Sun Hao's rage against him. The people who pleaded for his life must have been Cen Hun's followers. The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms must have been correct about this as well.)


9. In winter, the tenth month, Jin's Grand General Who Conquers The North, Wei Guan, was summoned to the capital and appointed as Prefect of the Masters of Writing.

At this time, it was an open secret that the Crown Prince, Sima Zhong, was muddled and confused, and he was not fit to succeed his father. Wei Guan often wished to broach the subject to Emperor Wu, but he dared not actually say anything.

At one point, the officials were holding a banquet at the Lingyun Terrace. Wei Guan became tipsy, and he kneeled before Emperor Wu's couch and said to him, "There is something I wish to discuss with you."

Emperor Wu said, "What do you wish to say?"

Wei Guan began to say what he wanted, but three times, he stopped himself from actually saying it. At last, he only stroked the couch with his hand and said, "What a pity for this seat!"

Emperor Wu finally realized what Wei Guan had in mind. But to cover it up, he replied, "Surely you have had too much to drink?"

Wei Guan would say nothing further.

Then Emperor Wu summoned all the officials and attendants of the Eastern Palace, the residence of the Crown Prince, supposedly to prepare for another banquet. But he secretly had sent along some questions, with orders for the Crown Prince to make responses to them. His wife Jia Nanfeng was greatly afraid. She had some other person write the responses in Sima Zhong's place, and many of the responses drew from ancient principles.

The palace messenger Zhang Hong told her, "His Majesty knows that the Crown Prince is uneducated. Yet there are many places in these responses which draw from ancient principles. He will certainly place responsibility on whoever arranged the forgery, and then you will receive even greater condemnation and blame. It would be better if the responses are simply direct answers to the questions."

Jia Nanfeng was very pleased, and she said to Zhang Hong, "Help me to compose good responses, and you will share in wealth and honor."

So Zhang Hong first composed a draft himself, and then had Sima Zhong copy it in his own hand.

When Emperor Wu received these responses, he was exceptionally pleased. The first person he showed them to was Wei Guan, who looked ill at ease at the sight of them. Thus everyone knew that Wei Guan had mentioned something about the issue before.

Jia Chong secretly sent someone to tell his daughter, "That old slave Wei Guan has nearly ruined you and our family!"


(The Lingyun Terrace had been built by Emperor Wen of Cao-Wei (Cao Pi; see 221.25 in Fang's Chronicles).

Jia Nanfeng had this other person forge a response for Sima Zhong.

Zhang Hong meant that when Emperor Wu saw the forgery, he would seek out who had been the culprit responsible for having it made.

This Zhang Hong's office was 給使; the duties of that office were managing the messengers of the Eastern Palace. Zhang Hong himself could be said to have been a giant among dwarfs; he certainly must have been the same Zhang Hong who later opposed Sima Jiong at Yangdi on behalf of Sima Lun.

Wei Guan is described as being 踧踖, which means having an uneasy expression.

This affair was why Jia Nanfeng resented Wei Guan.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms places this affair in the eighth year of Taishi (272). According to the Biography of Wei Guan in the Book of Jin, 'At the beginning of the Taishi era (~265), Wei Guan was appointed as Inspector of Qingzhou, and was later moved to Youzhou. For eight years, he did not return to the capital.' The Biography lists the affair after Wei Guan's appointment as Minister of Works (a capital post). But according to the Annals of Emperor Wu in the Book of Jin, 'In the third year of Taikang (282), Jia Chong passed away; in the twelfth month of that year, Wei Guan was appointed as Minister of Works.' This is why I move the event backwards to when Wei Guan received his appointment as Prefect of the Masters of Writing.")

晉武帝既不悟太子之愚,必有傳後意。諸名臣亦多獻直言。帝嘗在陵雲臺上坐,衛瓘在側,欲申其懷,因如醉跪帝前,以手撫床曰:「此坐可惜。」帝雖悟,因笑曰:「公醉邪?」(New Tales 10.7)

Since Emperor Wu was not fully aware of the feebleness of the Crown Prince (Sima Zhong), he held tenaciously to his intention of having him carry on the succession. The prominent ministers, for their part, mostly offered up honest counsels against it.

Emperor Wu was once at a gathering on the Lingyun Terrace (on the palace grounds at Luoyang) when Wei Guan was in attendance by his side. Wishing somehow to state what was in his heart, Wei Guan took the occasion to kneel before Emperor Wu as though he were drunk, stroking the dais on which he was sitting, and crying, "Alas for this seat!"

Emperor Wu, although aware of what Wei Guan meant, laughed and said, "Are you drunk?" (tr. Richard Mather)

帝常疑太子不慧,且朝臣和嶠等多以為言,故欲試之。盡召東宮大小官屬,為設宴會,而密封疑事,使太子決之,停信待反。妃大懼,倩外人作答。答者多引古義。給使張泓曰:「太子不學。而答詔引義,必責作草主,更益譴負。不如直以意對。」妃大喜,語泓:「便為我好答,富貴與汝共之。」泓素有小才,具草,令太子自寫。帝省之,甚悅。先示太子少傅衛瓘,瓘大踧踖,眾人乃知瓘先有毀言,殿上皆稱萬歲。充密遣語妃云:「衛瓘老奴,幾破汝家。」(Book of Jin 31, Biography of Jia Nanfeng)

Now Emperor Wu had often suspected that Sima Zhong was not very bright, and even He Jiao and many other court ministers had told him so. So he wanted to test Sima Zhong. He summoned all of the officials and servants of Sima Zhong's residence, the Eastern Palace, regardless of their stations, so that they could set up a feast. Meanwhile, he secretly prepared some questions and ordered Sima Zhong to answer them, leaving him a letter to send back with the responses.

Jia Nanfeng was greatly distressed, and she asked someone else to write the responses. Many of this other person's responses drew from ancient principles. The palace messenger Zhang Hong told her, "The Crown Prince is uneducated. Yet these responses draw from such principles. His Majesty will certainly place responsibility on whoever arranged the forgery, and then you will receive even greater condemnation and blame. It would be better if the responses are simply direct answers to the questions."

Jia Nanfeng was very pleased, and she said to Zhang Hong, "Help me to compose good responses, and you will share in wealth and honor."

Zhang Hong had long had some meager skill, so he composed responses and then ordered Sima Zhong to write them out in his own hand.

When Emperor Wu reviewed the responses, he was greatly pleased. The first person he showed them to was the Lesser Tutor to the Crown Prince, Wei Guan, who looked ill at ease at the sight of them. Thus everyone knew that Wei Guan had slandered Sima Zhong before. The whole palace hailed Emperor Wu's longevity.

Jia Chong secretly sent someone to tell his daughter, "That old slave Wei Guan has nearly ruined you and our family!"


10. The people of Wu were greatly tilling the land at Wancheng, planning to use the harvest stores for an invasion. Jin's Commander of military affairs in Yangzhou, Wang Hun, sent the Inspector of Yangzhou, Ying Chuo, to attack and rout them. The Jin army took five thousand heads, and torched more than 1,800,000 斛 of grain. They trampled over more than four thousand 頃 of farms and paddies, and destroyed more than six hundred boats.


11. In the eleventh month, on the day Xinsi (December 17th), the Imperial Physician Sima Cheng wore a pheasant hair coat that he had obtained. Emperor Wu had it burned in the front hall of the palace. On the day Jiashen (December 20th), Emperor Wu ordered that anyone, near or far, who dared to wear such unusual or remarkable clothing would be charged with a crime.


(According to the Records of Jin, the Imperial Physician was subordinate to the Director of the Imperial Clan.

The hair on a pheasant's head was prized for its dazzling display, and it was gathered up to fashion into coats.

The Royal Regulations chapter of the Book of Rites states, "Using licentious music; strange garments; wonderful contrivances and extraordinary implements, thus raising doubts among the multitudes: all who used or formed such things were put to death. (5.50)")


12. Yang Hu became deathly ill, and he recommended Du Yu as his replacement. On the day Xinmao (December 27th), Du Yu was appointed as Grand General Who Guards The South and Commander of military affairs in Jingzhou.

Yang Hu then passed away, and Emperor Wu greatly mourned for him. It was very cold that day, and his tears froze even as they ran down his face.

It had been Yang Hu's wish that he not be buried with his noble seal as Marquis of Nancheng. Emperor Wu said, "How yielding Yang Hu was for so many years; even when his body is no more, he yields even so. I will heed his wish, and restore his original noble title, as a sign of his great excellence."

When the people of the southern province (Jingzhou) heard that Yang Hu had passed away, they all closed down their markets, and the sound of wailing and weeping filled every alley. Even the officers and soldiers of Wu who guarded the border against Jin wept for Yang Hu.

Yang Hu had enjoyed traveling to Mount Xian, and so the people of Xiangyang raised a stele and built a shrine to him there. Every year, they would make sacrifices to him there. No one could look at his stele without bursting into tears, and so it gained the name of the Stele of Tears.


(Emperor Wu refers to Yang Hu's final act of yielding in not having his noble seal buried with him.

Emperor Wu restored Yang Hu's original title as Marquis of Juping.

The "southern province" was Jingzhou.)


13. When Du Yu arrived at his post, to improve morale, he led a raid against Wu's Commander of Xiling, Zhang Zheng, and greatly routed him. Now Zhang Zheng was a famous general of Wu, and he felt ashamed at not being prepared to defend against this attack, so he did not report the truth of what had happened to Sun Hao. When Du Yu learned of that, he asked that all the prisoners he had just taken in the raid be released. Sun Hao naturally had Zhang Zheng recalled, and he sent the Chief of Wuchang, Liu Xian, to replace him.


(Eastern Wu had both Commanders and Chiefs of their borders. The Commanders were in command over the military affairs of several armies; the Chiefs merely oversaw such affairs.)


14. In the twelfth month, on the day Dingwei (January 12th of 279), Jin's Duke of Langling, He Zeng, passed away.

He Zeng had been known to live extravagantly, even moreso than his own lord. The Colonel-Director of Retainers, Liu Yi of Donglai, had often sent in petitions outlining He Zeng's offenses in being wasteful and without discipline. But as He Zeng was one of Emperor Wu's most important ministers, Emperor Wu did not heed these complaints.

After He Zeng passed away, there was the matter of what his posthumous name should be. One of the Academicians, Qin Xiu of Xinxing, said, "He Zeng was arrogant even beyond what could be called normal, and his reputation was known throughout the Nine Regions. When one serves as a chief minister or other grand servant of state, people take note of one's conduct. If such a man indulges his desires to the fullest while alive, and receives no censure after death, then what will any other prince, noble, or honored person have left to fear? If we inspect the Laws of Posthumous Names, it states that 'one whose reputation is at odds with his true nature may be called Errant' and 'one who takes advantage of turmoil to act without restraint may be called Shameful'. So He Zeng's posthumous name ought to be Duke Muchou ('errant' and 'shameful')."

However, Emperor Wu granted He Zeng the posthumous name Xiao ("filial").


This Qin Xiu was a native of Yunzhong in Xinxing; he was the son of the Cao-Wei minister Qin Lang.

The Nine Regions were the same as the Nine Provinces (that is, the realm).

The Laws of Posthumous Names was first used by the Duke of Zhou; it is used for the determination of posthumous names.

Emperor Wu did not use Qin Xiu's counsel, but instead ordered that He Zeng be granted a different posthumous name.)


15. Jin's former Colonel-Director of Retainers, Fu Xuan, passed away.

Fu Xuan had a very severe nature. Whenever he had a petition or charge to present, even if it was already dusk, he would prepare the petition, grasp his brush and put on his belt, set out at once without sleeping, and sit waiting until dawn came. From such things he was held in awe by the 'noble wanderers', and he had great influence among the government.

Fu Xuan was good friends with the Minister of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Cui Hong of Boling. Cui Hong was himself a clear and strict man and a candid speaker. He often liked to scold people to their faces for their transgressions. But he never said anything about them behind their backs, so people appreciated him.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Fu Xuan in the Book of Jin states, 'In the fifth year of Xianning (279), Fu Xuan was appointed as Minister Coachman. He then became Colonel-Director. After Empress Jingxian (Yang Huiyu) passed away, Fu Xuan became a target of accusations from others and was removed from office in the Masters of Writing. He died not long afterwards.' But Empress Jingxian passed away in the fourth year (278); the Biography of Fu Xuan is mistaken."

Ren Fang's 彈曹景宗 in the Literary Selections has the line, "He sincerely presents the 白簡 to be heard." Lü Xiang's Annotations notes, "This 簡 is a summarized record." The Records of Jin states, "When the ancients held their audience tablets, if there was any business, they recorded it using what was commonly called the hairpin brush. It is now called the white brush, but retains the same meaning. It was the tool of the civil officials of the Three Terraces and Five Offices.” The belt is a leather belt, the 鞶 belt of old (also leather).

The Offices (or Rites) of Zhou states, "The Master of Warders instructs the noble wanderers, the sons and younger brothers, of the various states." The Annotations notes, "The 'noble wanderers, sons and younger brothers' are those of the princes and dukes; they ‘wander’, not having any office."

Emperor An of Han split off part of Anping commandary and made it Boling commandary.)


16. Tufa Shujineng had posed a constant threat on the borders of Jin. The Supervisor Li Xi asked that troops be sent to campaign against him, but the court officials felt that sending out troops would be a very serious matter, and there was no need for concern about the Xianbei.


(Tufa Shujineng's raids had first started in the sixth year of Taishi (270), and by now they had been going on for nine years.)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:53 am, edited 10 times in total.
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